PHOTOGRAPHER NATASHA BRITO, AUSTERE STYLIST KJ MOODY MODEL JACQUELINE CREECH, AUSTERE TOP/SKIRT H&M
MADE BY AUSTERE MAGAZINE
PHOTOGRAPHER NATASHA BRITO, AUSTERE STYLIST/MODEL KJ MOODY MODEL JACQUELINE CREECH, AUSTERE BLACK & WHITE PYRAMID PRINT TOP ASOS TOP/SKIRT AKIRA CHOKER VALFRÉ
© 2015 Austere Magazine. All rights reserved.
WE'RE ALL MAKERS DRAFT V32.3: FINAL
For Austere's three-year anniversary, we knew we wanted to focus this issue on why, how, and when people create. (And we wanted to make sure we’re not completely crazy.) What we figured out recently is that pretty much no one has their “process” figured out. Creating work doesn't always make sense and that's what makes it unlike anything else. When you see a finished product of Austere, you don’t get to read all the emails that were sent, feel how many times our phones vibrated during a group message crisis, or see how many times we changed the order of the pages because the “colors didn’t flow.” Our creative process goes kind of like this: we get really excited about an idea, research for months, contact the Internet, freak out because no one replies, send more emails, get excited over a few replies, watch an inexplicable number of music videos, freak out again because the issue isn’t good enough and then somehow end up with this. Truthfully it’s never what we expect it’s going to be and it never really feels complete. A lot of living happens in the four months it takes to make a compilation of paper. For this issue, many of the interviews turned into mutual conversations where we were able to share advice, hopes...dreams. The people we talked to confirmed our suspicion that people who care about making something meaningful are probably the best people on earth. Even if you don’t make anything, we think you could still get something out of this. Besides, you probably already do make something. And if you don’t, don't feel bad. You probably get a lot more sleep than the rest of us.
LOVE, Vicky Andres, editor-in-chief
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
LIFE ARTIST TALK WITH JOONBUG & DYEMOND 10 BREATHE: AN ESSAY BY DAVID MORGAN 16 LOLO + ALEIA: ON THEIR WILD BFF VACAY 18 TAKE A DIP INTO POND MAGAZINE 22 THE ART OF CURATION WITH CIRCUIT 12 CONTEMPORARY 26 DEAR ARTIST, WE REGRET TO TELL YOU 30 BABE VIBES 32
MUSIC AROUND TOWN WITH SOKO 36 MOTH FACE IS MAGIC 42 FATE BROUGHT US CHUI WAN 44 BEDROOM PUNK WITH COSIMA JAALA 46
S T N E T N O C F O E L B AT
PEOPLE FASHION DOMINANCE BY SMIN SMITH 54 CHARLES SMITH II (IS A MAD MAN) 56 THE LOVELY LUCY DANG 60 MONAHANS, TEXAS...EDITORIAL 62 ELVIRA DIAZ: MENS WEAR EDITORIAL 66 TROLLING FASHION WITH THE TROLLSEN TWINS 72 INAISCE: SNAIL SLOW FASHION BY JONA SEES 76 INSIDE OUT BY CAN DAGARSLANI 78 SHE IS...EDITORIAL 82 MADE YOU LOOK BY SAINA KOOHNAVARD 84
SELFIES WITH DIANA VERAS 90 ARTIST FILIP KOSTIC 94 MANIPULATED REALITIES WITH TREY WRIGHT 98 JASON CROMBIE OF MONSTER CHILDREN 100 SELFIES WITH ELIZABETH DE LA PIEDRA 102 NICHOLAS J. HARRIS HAS EMERGED 104 'MAKING IT' WITH JEREMY BIGGERS 106
J: What is this? D: Waterbrush. J: Is that how you do the blue leaves?! D: Dude, before you leave I’m gonna hook you up with some stuff. *explains how the waterbrush works* BOTH AGREE: Game changer!
PHOTOGRAPHER FEY SANDOVAL
WITH JOONBUG & DYEMOND
When you bring two talented illustrators together, like Dallas’ own Dyemond O’bryan and Lenworth ‘Joonbug’ McIntosh, you don’t have to do much but listen. Dyemond’s introverted demeanor often keeps him inside creating (or skating if he gets a little cabin fever) and Joonbug’s charisma lightens up the room and the sketchbook. Their two worlds seem distant, but in a room together they connect like they have known each other forever. We got cozy in Dyemond’s art-filled home as the two talked about their outlook on creating, their favorite cartoons, being an Internet Age artist, branching out and the nifty tools they’ve gotten their hands on, all while doodling away.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOUR STYLE?
work and he said, “man, your sketchbook
mal details. There’s an artist [whose] style
artist to branch out and not do the same
JOONBUG: I realized it in high school. It
will always be your best portfolio.” I think
used to be super detailed. It’s still detailed
was after I got my ass handed to me by
that’s why I took it so seriously after that.
but with very little lines and I still don't
J: I do, because when you’re complacent
this guy—we’ll call him Chance. Chance
If you just look at the end piece of an art-
know how to do that. I’ll draw something
your style becomes boring, then you don’t
McGee. He was in a grade above me. You
work, you don’t really understand the pro-
minimal and then have an itch to add
really have anything to offer besides reg-
know after awhile you gain this air about
cess. So I always want people to under-
something because I feel like it’s too flat.
you when you’re known as the kid who
stand the process, all the lines and ink on
D: I think that’s just you though, you’re
D: Yeah it’s like we already know what’s
can draw, like oh you’re the art kid.
top. I want people to understand this isn’t
kind of like your own worst enemy. Your
coming from you at that point.
When I got to high school, I realized that
something that’s easy to do. It’s not just
cartoon is perfect, that’s what cartoons are
J: Yeah and I think with the artist, just be-
people were a whole level above me as
something I did once or that just came to
suppose to look like.
ing an artist, people are almost dependent
far as technical skill. I remember I came
me. There’s a certain level of lines in paper
J: I definitely want more of this color
on you to kind of give them a refreshing
in 8th grade and I had this art class with
and a thought process, but you never real-
phase I’m going through. I never relied
way to look at life. So there’s a lot of pres-
these two guys. And Chance was one of
ly get it right the first time.
on color, it was always lines, lines, lines.
sure in a sense of creating something that
them, and his brother was also in the class.
DYEMOND: I think I’m just now coming
I love contrast; playing with contrast and
wasn’t necessarily there before or that was there but creating a new life for it so people
And he was like, “man you can draw but
to grips with how I draw.
lines. Plus, color is almost taking the same
you can’t draw better than my brother.”
J: Is that why you deleted your first Ins-
approach of being loose and unapologetic
can see it in a new light. It’s almost like we
His brother was like, “let’s see what you
with lines, and then figuring out. If I put
exist to create a better world for everybody else.
got man” and he looked at my book and
D: I got so bummed out because I was all
this color down and if I don't like it, then
said, “you’ve got some good stuff, but you
over the place. I was doing the Blue Peri-
what other color can I put on there instead
D: I’m almost weirded out by that, because
can fix this here and polish this here.” And
od stuff for a while; then I was trying to
and make it a different color, to make it
I don’t know. I feel like people don’t know
I’m sitting there thinking, “can I see your
do this abstract stuff for awhile; then I
work for whatever it is?
what they want. I’ve drawn these little hot
stuff?!” And when I saw the first page I
was doing the single line contours, then
D: I’ve looked at your colors and you really
dog things and people love those things.
was like...ok. *wide-eyed emoji* He was
realistic to something really loose. That’s
knew what colors to pick, like it was a nat-
That takes two seconds, that’s not something that I’m focused on but people get a
looking at my book while I was looking at
like the number one thing I look for in an
his. He had used some markers. It was my
artist. I’m still struggling with the super
J: Same with you though. I was looking at
fun feeling out of it.
first time seeing markers used in this type
realism shit. There is this perfect medium
your Blue Period stuff and it reminded me
J: No one knows what they want 'til they
of format. He did some really left-field,
between cartooning and realism that just
of the whole Picasso Blue Period. It was
see it. The pressure is needed though, be-
abstract stuff. He had this whole page of
looks great. Sammy Harkham is a car-
just focusing on a certain style and stick-
cause sometimes as an artist you get lazy. Especially when you have a style that you
notes surrounding the art. I was really tak-
toonist and he’s got it down perfect.
ing to it before it became comfortable, and
en by that, because while I was reading it
J: I’ve seen a lot of styles where it's super
then when it became comfortable, it’s like
can do easily. I’ve seen some artists that
I was able to see his process from begin-
polished, it seems like all the excess you
you have that. It's almost like you learn
I follow and I loved when I first followed
ning to end.
would think the drawer needs, you can
something and it’s with you for life, then
them. But they just get lazy and now it’s
put one color there, one line there. It just
you can implement it in different areas.
crap. But because they have this huge fol-
seems to create itself with the most mini-
D: Do you feel that’s important? For an
lowing, it's almost like they don’t give a shit
This was all with me just browsing his sketchbook. I asked him to see his finished
Austere MADE // 11
anymore. "Oh I know people will like this,
of fun. I low-key just want to draw some-
toons, but they ended at 11 am so after that
I don’t care, I’m just gonna post this to get
thing one time.
you just had to go fend for yourself. But my
D: *cuts in agreeably laughing* I just want
mother was living here in the States and
D: Which is crazy to me. I love the Inter-
to draw this thing, put it on there and then
she would always send me VHS tapes. My
net; we can get stuff out there easily. But
just move it. Like a moving picture, if they
favorite ones were the old black and white,
this whole like game and following thing
did that then that would be perfect.
Technicolor, super cellophane Popeye. I
is ridiculous. It really kills an artist. I think it
J: Some of the characters, I see them mov-
remember watching those forever back to
kills your drive and what you’re doing be-
ing. Nobody else does but I always draw
back, because it was all I had. Then there
cause you’re more focused on that end of
them with the intent of seeing them move.
was the old Superman. I never really liked
the game. That is important, getting stuff
There was a show I used to watch when I
Superman but it was fun to watch because
out there and [getting] people to like it—if
first came to the States...it was called Pap-
the art style was very vintage. Very mini-
that's what you're trying to do, but that's
pyland. I think that show pushed me into
mal, still with the blue, red and yellow.
not even close to being everything.
this direction of fun, fun vibes. Just getting
D: I wasn’t really a superhero fan, except
J: Yeah it’s not the end all. Do you ever feel
into the habit of drawing things…
for Batman animated series.
like there was a point in time when you
D: TV was the spark of art for me. I remem-
J: The first one?!
just wanted to pick up something other
ber drawing Rocko’s Modern Life charac-
than illustration? Like did you ever want to
ters, anything I could from the TV.
BOTH: Yeah that was the fucking best one!
do sculpting or anything else?
J: So you think Rocko was the one that
J: All the stuff I grew up with, I never really
D: *points to collage on wall behind them*
gave you that kind of inspiration to draw?
paid attention to all of the creatives behind
Those little square collages are the closest
D: I would say The Simpsons, though I re-
it. Those people made my childhood but at
thing to branching out. Sculpting would be
ally hate saying it, because that was like
the same time I never really went back and
awesome, but animation is the only thing
church to me as a kid. I was there, it didn’t
I think about other than drawing. Just lit-
matter what was going on, I had to be sit-
D: I don't think people do that at all, ever.
tle crude ones that I’ve been trying to do
ting in front of the TV. I drew that the most.
Do you draw everyday?
now. When I see animators, they’re fully
We didn’t have cable for a while then we
J: I do, I make it a point. Now it’s just sec-
focused on animation. These guys put in
got it and I just watched every cartoon that
ond nature. When people say, "ah that's
hours and hours of doing it; it's great, I love
I could. I didn’t even care if it wasn’t in En-
impossible," I think they think you’re doing this full illustration every single day. When
it but I just couldn’t see myself doing that.
glish. That’s how I got into Dragon Ball [Z]
It seems tiring.
really it’s just like anything that pops into
J: That’s how I feel too. It would be a fun
J: When I was younger, we were worse off.
my mind, I just draw it really quick just to
idea to see something I drew move, but
I was living in Jamaica at the time and we
keep skills sharp. I think it’s beneficial to
putting in the hours of going through the
only had two channels. One channel was
draw everyday, if not for anybody, but for
creating process and putting together a lit-
the news station and the other just social
yourself. I know you draw everyday. I think
tle short...I don’t feel like I would have a lot
TV. So you had your Saturday morning car-
you have more of a desire to draw than I do.
D: Do you ever feel like you’re missing
new thing for me. Most of my characters
him and you liked it. Like this is the thing
bones or hair. You kind of just have to do it.
something? Like when you’re hanging out,
are just goofy or a weird angle; something
I want to draw. I remember drawing a
Do you mess around and try different tools
not wasting time but not being creative,
elongated. Super long legs or short and
bunch of characters and then I tried this
and think, "I could be at my desk right
stout. I wanted him to be this go-lucky guy
exercise with three columns and six rows
J: No I want to, like this is amazing to me.
I could latch on to. Then I thought about
and for one minute you draw as many
D: I think three years of my art was me just
J: Yeah I feel that way whenever I’m out. If
him finding a towel around the house and
characters as you can. And that would get
buying different stuff, pens and pencils,
I go somewhere and it’s nothing to do with
tying it around his neck, flying around
you not to think about it, because I would
reading articles, trying whatever I could
art or networking to get more gigs for art,
stress out about why his eye would look
get my hands on, [figuring out] what are
the whole time I’m thinking in my mind
D: Childhood at its best. You know how
one way or whatever. So after awhile of
other people using. Like those. *points at
(it's almost like I'm a ghost there): I could
many times I dressed up as Batman fight-
doing that it came easy and I would pick
more pens* I feel like I wouldn't be too at-
be at home in my sketchbook.
ing whatever I could in the house. Mom
out which ones I liked.
tached to those as I would a brush I bought.
D: Yeah my wife knows. As soon as I get
taking me to the grocery store not even
J: So that’s how you did the collage of fac-
I'll be rough with it, smash it, blend it, do whatever I need to do with it. I would only
quiet it's time to go.
caring how I'm dressed.
J: It’s just something about creating man.
J: So tell me about The Breaks man, how
D: Yeah you never know what you grab
draw on 140 pound paper, I only use Pen-
D: I just want to do it all the time.
did you come up with that?
from. Just pencil it out and see what you
tel inks and pens and some people are like
J: It doesn’t even take anything for me to
D: Well I always wanted to make comic
come up with. I never like something un-
that's a snoody thing to do but...
just draw something.
books for some stupid reason and I just
less I pencil it out first.
J: If you have a certain style, you have a certain style.
D: One little thing can turn into something
tried to come up with the name one day
DO YOU EVER GET A CREATIVE BLOCK?
else...like when you were drawing Bean
and I was listening to Kurtis Blow and just
IS THERE EVER A TIME YOU CAN’T
D: Yeah. You don’t want a faux Michael
Boy and now all the concepts around him.
really jamming. It was so heavy and he just
Jordan, you want THE MJ.
That didn’t start out as that.
knew what he was talking about, so I said,
J: He started in a Spanish class. Senior year
"you know what, I’m just going to name it
J: Kind of, I have moments. Like I had one
of undergrad. I was actually taking Spanish
The Breaks." Because to me it meant I could
yesterday at my mom’s house and I guess I
class at another university across town in
make the comics about anything, it didn’t
just wasn't suppose to be working on any-
Abilene. I was learning about congregation
matter. It didn’t pigeonhole me. It was just
thing. So I just drew but it was because I
and I just drew down this chubby little guy,
something that felt like it could go on for-
wasn’t feeling anything. Like I had no feel-
then I added goggles because I was watch-
ing. But most of the time I’ll draw random
ing Narutaru; anime characters always had
J: The character, it doesn’t look like you. I
lines 'til I see a face in there. Then I’ll just
cool goggles. It made them automatically
thought you would create something that
go with it and it turns into something else.
cool. I always like freckles on the cheeks—
would resemble you in a certain way. Like
But for the most part, there’s always some
it's something about that that makes you
the Life of Dyemond, but it’s not. It's cool
ideas floating around in my mind.
enjoy the character more: chubby cheeks
because it’s almost like you can make it
D: There’s always something to draw or to
with freckles, hair all over the place, gog-
do. Whether I want to do a comic, a still
gles. Then having him be a superhero is a
D: I think it’s like your Bean Boy. You drew
life, doodle stuff out. Draw some plants or
INTERVIEW BY MORGAN GENTRY
Austere MADE // 13
CINDERELLA Cinderella is a series about two girls, best friends, both Taiwanese who speak the same language and share the same dreams, tastes and hopes, but which society perceives totally differently. The series is about two girls exploring different roles and each other, sharing intimate moments of their relationship. The story of a so called 'hunxie' or mixed blood, in an ethnically homogenous society like Taiwan using the relationship to her best friend.
PHOTOGRAPHER BENJAMIN EHRENBERG MODELS DIVNA LEE & ETISEY CHANG
Austere MADE // 15
I WRITE EVERYDAY BECAUSE, IN MY WORLD, WRITING IS LIKE BREATHING AND IF I DO NOT BREATHE, I DO NOT LIVE. In the same way the dancer feels freedom as she gracefully grazes the stage, I am at peace as my pen pirouettes across the page. There is a certain feeling of control that comes from creation. A majority of our lives is an uncontrolled mess that we constantly have to clean up. We didnâ€™t choose to get in that car accident on 635, but we have no choice but to clean it up by paying for the repairs, which in turn leads to us having less money, which means our budget is tighter, which means we wonâ€™t be able to spend our hard earned cash on things that we really want to.
A simple situation created by the abstract artist known as our Life creates a chain reaction of things we would not have chosen to do had we had the ability to control it.
Life is nothing more than a series of events that can either be fortunate or unfortunate depending on how we react. Situations that we could not possibly create on our own help create who we become. But imagine if we could create and mold how everyday of our life would go. That would be interesting, to say the least. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it will never happen like that. Ever. But what we can create are things. We can create things that can then create situations, so in a sense, being creative is a minor way to have some kind of control over our lives. We cannot create the perfect classroom setting, but what we can create is a new curriculum geared towards what students actually need. We cannot create how someone else will feel as they make the commute from the office back home, but what we can create is art. What we can create are communities where we can all create together. What we can create are moments that may have an everlasting impact on someone else’s life. That is why I love writing. That is why I love creating. My creations are one of the few things in this life that I can fully control. And when used correctly, control can be a catalyst for peace. I create everyday because, in my world, creating is like breathing, and similar to my breath, I cannot hold in my vision. Because if I did, I would no longer be living. You do not have to be Picasso in order to be a painter. You do not have to be Shakespeare
in order to be a poet. If you love it, do it. The secret to being creative is, you guessed it, creating. That’s it. Let your true passions skip to the front of the endless line of things you don’t really want to do in life. As much time as you spend dancing with daily chores that drain your will to exist, the least you could is give a little time to your true passion. The one that gives you that feeling of fulfillment that refills your want to be alive. Do what you feel you are meant to do. Even if it’s just five minutes a day, or once a week, make something. Hit the field and run some routes. Get in the gym and get some shots up. Redecorate your room. Try that new recipe you’ve been wanting to taste. In between the endless projects your boss has piled on you, draw a sketch on a sticky note of how you feel. All these are different versions of staying creative. No matter what it is, do what you love. I am not afraid of dying, but my worst fear is being dead while I’m still alive. That is what happens when you do not create. You start to lose sight of what living really is. You begin to suffocate yourself with the endless rope of everyday existence. We spend too much time inhaling all kinds of unwanted responsibilities, giving too much energy to things that do not give energy back to us. In the process of trying to survive in the depths of Life’s ocean, we forget that it is okay to come up for air. We forget to breathe.
CREATING IS LIKE BREATHING . NEVER FORGET THAT YOU NEED TO EXHALE . Austere MADE // 17
LOLO + ALEIA on their wild BFF vacay PHOTOGRAPHER LOLO BATES MODEL ALEIA MURAWSKI
LOLO: Aleia and I have been best friends for eighteen years and we wanted to capture that through the photos. I don't know if Aleia would be comfortable posing like that in front of many other photographers. Really it was just two best friends drinking tequila shots and beers at a Rainforest Fantasy Hotel in the middle-of-nowhere Iowa. But I do feel that it was a location where we could retrieve our inner wild child. I think it's important for women to embrace their sexual self, something we are taught to refuse and resent in other women. And I think we both needed a vacation... ALEIA: Yeah! This was our best friend faux-destination honeymoon. The photos are about being together in this private and fabricated jungle, as well as archiving this specific time since we live so far apart. Lo lives in London and I live in Chicago so we felt that we needed a small trip to celebrate our reunion together. We originally wanted a room that was too far away. I am really glad we were forced in the end to stay in the Midwest and find this plastic rainforest suite. We got into the room and started jumping we were so happy. Lo immediately over-bubbled the hot tub so it was five feet high in bubblesâ€Śthere were feathers everywhere, trailing out into the hallway. We just wanted something fun. Something strange and uninhibited. Something about just the two of us.
HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? LOLO: I remember meeting Aleia on the playground in about 2nd grade.
WHEN DID YOU START CREATING TOGETHER? LOLO: After high school we moved apart for many years but we have always continued to grow together. It's really special that after eighteen years we can grow together and not apart. I think that's rare. Unfortunately we can't always create together but we do send each other inspiration daily. We see each other once or twice a year but always share our process together. And we're always planning for future projects.
Austere MADE // 19
WHAT’S IT LIKE GETTING TO WORK TOGETHER? ALEIA: I can remember when we wore the same outfits to school when we were like eight years old—we bought matching bulldog t-shirts from Old Navy and black capris. And then like two years later it was mini skirts and platforms. I think those kind of small performances to declare your friendship is always going to be there with Lo and me. This was definitely like a twenty-six year old version of what we have always done. LOLO: My favorite thing to do is play dress up and take photos of my best friends, so of course I love it. It's fun! Aleia though is great for me to photograph because I love taking pictures of women who inspire me, and she is one of the most inspirational and kind people you could ever meet. WHAT’S IT LIKE MODELING VERSUS BEING BEHIND THE CAMERA FOR YOU? ALEIA: I think the spirit of these photos is that they are less about modeling and more about taking photos with a close friend. I told her I would not wear that tiny leopard leotard in front of anyone else haha. But she made me feel beautiful and powerful. I am really nervous in front of the camera; this felt differently then that. This felt more like Lo was recording our internal vacay. I felt safe in that.
IN BOTH OF YOUR OPINIONS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ARTIST? ALEIA: I went through a really long hiatus, like a couple solid years of not making anything. Lo and I about two years ago felt equally lost. We were sharing a room and we would talk at night about our ambitions and sometimes they felt too far to talk about. But we encouraged each other to just really chase after these abstract things. We helped get momentum going. But that meant being apart. The last year was huge for both of us because we are finding our voices and making work and we are understanding how to make routines and sacrifices. I think we are also feeling more courageous to follow our guts. I think that has a lot do with being an artist! LOLO: Of course art is a way of expressing myself. I think you also have a responsibility as an artist for what you put out into the world...the messages you put across. Art and hard work have always been my best healing process. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST VALUABLE THING ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST? ALEIA: I think the most valuable thing is having a creative community where you can share what you are doing,
work with other people, and get ideas and dialogue going. It's so hard to pursue a creative path in itself, so it is so important to find other people to share that process with. And for me, that's always been Lo. She has always supported and challenged me. She inspires me endlessly. It is so powerful to have a friend like that. LOLO: Like Aleia said, the most valuable thing is having a creative community. Aleia and I have very similar interests but our work is so different. But we keep a dialogue going. For my work I really want to create an image that is visceral. I am an extremely emotional person and I think sometimes that comes through in my work. If I don't create I go insane. It's a hard question to answer too, sometimes I want to give up because it seems everyone can be an artist or photographer these days. But I made quite a lot of sacrifices, so I definitely can't afford to give up now. But through friends like Aleia, I find the strength to keep going. As young females we need to be brave and provoke new thinking and critique the images we see all around us. INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES
Austere MADE // 21
"POND IS LITERALLY 24/7.” "POND IS LITERALLY 24/7.” "POND IS LITERALLY 24/7.”
TAKE A DIP INTO 22
We spoke with POND's editor-in-chief Natalie Leonard about what it's like collaborating with other college students living all across the country to create a digital publication. HOW DID POND COME TO BE? The summer after my freshman year of college I was in New York interning at Interview Magazine. I was so inspired by the kinds of editorials and features that Interview put together; the content they produce is original and has an edge to it unlike any other publication. I’m studying Fine Arts and that summer I was making a lot of work, but I had no where to put it. It was really late one night and I remember Facebook messaging Dillon, “hey, want to do this thing with me?” He was down and he has been with POND ever since. At first it was just going to be a small zine of our own work with a few other friends, but now it’s two years later and it’s evolved into something we never could have imagined. It's now a platform for other young artists and musicians to get their work out and that’s so exciting for me. We started to receive crazy amounts of support from friends and peers and that’s what and who has really driven this whole thing. HOW DID YOU BUILD YOUR TEAM? HOW DID YOU COME TOGETHER? It started with just Dillon and me, who was a friend from high school. We go to different universities so everything POND was founded on started from late night phone calls. Katie, our literary director, is actually my college roommate and I met Carl, our music director, and Mary, our art director, through mutual friends. Rachel and David were both steady contributors who had stumbled onto our site one way or another; they gained a lot of responsibility pretty quickly. We all meshed and worked together really well. The progression of our editing staff happened naturally even though the majority of us aren’t at the same schools or even in the same cities. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CORE IDEAS THAT YOU AIM TO EXPRESS WITH YOUR WORK? We aim to be an avenue that encourages creativity among our generation. We hope to provide them with a venue to express themselves in a way that is reflective of their experience as a young person. I’d like to think that the playlist a contributor made for us called “I Don’t Need You I Have Pizza” really helped her get through that moment of heartbreak or whatever it was she was feeling and that an article that another contributor wrote about overcoming a drug addiction was good therapy for him. Those who curate POND are all going through the same experiences as our audience and we don’t want to be another publication that’s telling them what to think or how to act. There’s nothing
really I know that they don’t; we’re all
through others that we have already
me at like 5 am and I crank out POND work
learning from each other.
featured. We go to a lot of shows in New
before I go to class, or I’m kind of notorious
doing cool things and I was like, "ya know,
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE
York and are always scouting bands to
for answering emails when I’m out with
people need to hear about them too."
ADVANTAGES ARE OF DOING
interview but a lot have been friends that
friends. Because we all have demanding
WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW
STRICTLY DIGITAL PUBLICATION?
have introduced us to their friends, etc.
schedules we all understand sometimes
ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO?
It’s actually really exciting to explore a
It’s funny, we’ll go to a Britanys show (The
having to cover for one another or picking
We do what we do because we love it. We
digital space as a platform, especially
Britanys were our first legitimate feature)
up slack when someone has a paper
reach out to people for features because we
because all of our lives are so consumed
in Brooklyn or something and run into four
due the next morning. So even though
genuinely enjoy what they’re producing,
by it. There’s so much out there on the
or five other people that we have featured.
everyone has their respective positions,
not just because they’re an "it" band or an
We’re building this weird connected web.
everyone’s responsibilities as an editor
artist that’s getting a lot of publicity. I really
overlap. Google Docs are our life, constant
just wanted to create a platform for young people to let themselves loose.
challenge for us to keep our site relevant and appealing to our audience. With digital
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
emails, never ending group chats—we
we also have the freedom to change our
We approach every feature a little different.
try to get together as much as we can in
mind about features and the immediacy
I think we’re still trying to figure things
person, but sometimes it’s just not doable
of our content is really cool. Also, it’s great
out ourselves. Usually it's a team effort
with everyone’s schedules. We have a lot of
to be able to feel connected to our readers.
and when we’re all in the same place, our
fun; we make it work.
We see what people are saying about what
brainstorming sessions usually start with
HOW MUCH WORK DO YOU PUT INTO A
we put out there and who is sharing what
drinks or tacos, most likely both. Multiple
PROJECT OR PUBLICATION?
just minutes after a feature goes live and
Google Docs running at the same time,
Each individual feature is so different, but POND is literally 24/7. It’s crazy and I know
that’s a positive thing on all fronts.
group messages, phone calls, and usually
YOU TALK ABOUT EXPLORING VINTAGE
a meeting with the talent before the actual
a few of us on staff say this all the time, but
MEDIUMS IN A DIGITAL SPACE, WHY IS
feature goes down. It’s really important to
there are few things in our life that we put
THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU?
us to build a relationship with the people
as much time into as POND. None of us
There’s a lot of value in that kind of work
we are featuring. We really enjoy getting to
mind though. We have such a good time
and it has relevance to our generation
know the person and it’s never a one time
doing it that we’re always looking for new
simply because it’s what came before us. I
thing because we too are growing with
projects to start and ways to improve. It
think a lot of people are eager to explore
keeps us busy, that’s for sure.
the past; there’s something romantic
WHAT DOES A DAY IN THE POND
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP
about nostalgia. Even though our medium
WORLD LOOK LIKE?
is digital, art of any kind has relevance to
Because we’re not located in the same city
Definitely my team. I work with incredibly
us because it’s easier for us to share our
or even attending the same schools at the
talented people; they’re my best friends.
moment, everyday is different for all of us.
And definitely all of the people we work with and those who contribute to us. I
HOW DO YOU FIND THE PEOPLE THAT
For me, I’m one of those weird people that
stays up really late, but also wakes up really
started POND because I was sick of hearing
We find a lot of our artists and bands
early. So when I’m at school, days start for
about the same photographers, bands, etc.
I had so many kickass friends who were
INTERVIEW BY ELIZA TRONO
PHOTOS COURTESY OF POND MAGAZINE
Austere MADE // 23
R E D S Q U A R E PHOTOGRAPHER ANAI BHARUCHA STYLIST SHAHEEN PEER MODEL RUBY STRATFORD, LENI'S ILLUSTRATIONS/MAKEUP ALINA ZAMANOVA
“THE IDEA WAS TO TAKE HER ILLUSTRATIONS LIVE— AWAY FROM PAPER/CANVAS AND ONTO A FACE. THEN FOR US TO PORTRAY THE FACE IN AN ALTERNATIVE WAY. OUR SHOOT WAS A BUILD UP OF ILLUSTRATIONS THAT BROKE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT IS MEANT TO BE BEAUTIFUL.” 24
R E D S Q U A R E Austere MADE // 25
THE ART OF
C U R AT I O N
with Circuit 12 Contemporary
Circuit 12 Contemporary was started by Dustin and Gina Orlando.
PHOTOGRAPHER NATASHA BRITO, AUSTERE
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN DALLAS AND NAME THE GALLERY?
selves are drawn to and think are relevant, and providing that in a setting that might not
DUSTIN: So when we moved to Dallas we went around to a lot of different galleries. And
be as accessible as it should be here in Dallas. So it’s really also about public awareness
there was good work, but there wasn’t a lot of energy going on. It seemed a little stagnant.
and allowing the community to interact with artwork in a nice setting that’s taken se-
So when we talked about opening the space, we talked about bringing some kind of ener-
riously. It’s not just a pop up this or that or whatever, and it’s actually really creating a
gy into the art scene. So, Circuit is like a continuous flow of energy and the 2012 is when
network of contemporary art that is both relevant and very much needed here in Dallas
Luca was born, and that was the first year the gallery was open. So Circuit 12. Gina more
where a lot of people think they need to go other places to see this stuff. In our experience
or less came up with the name, it made sense like that.
too, we’ve lived all over the place. We’ve worked in a lot of different art markets. We were
WHAT ARE THE STEPS YOU TAKE FOR CURATING?
in Miami for years, I was on the East Coast for years, and between Austin and New York.
GINA: That’s more of my place. I am a crazy, maniacal researcher to the point of insanity.
We’ve taken a lot of that experience and the people we’ve met, and markets, and sort of
To me, it’s just an extension of my own natural curiosity. I basically utilize the Internet
used all of that as a point of departure to start what we're doing here and also a point of,
and other tools that weren’t more readily available to us say back twenty years ago.
I mean it’s not a complete point of departure to where we’re not working with that any-
D: A lot of the artists we work with are friends with other artists. Then we have a retention
more, we are still expanding upon those ideas and revisioning how we can work with
of artists that are in the roster for shows that we are our booking a year out.
those artists we may already know...
G: I would say more importantly our curatorial vision kind of extends into what we our-
D: Also, curating a program. When we go into doing a schedule for example, we buy
by season so it’s like, "this is how winter to
more about them through their time and
show, so to speak. Like this is going to
to have that for what we are doing." Just
spring will look. It’ll be these three shows,
research, which never fucking happens.
represent this, and that’s how the work
through the things we are interested in we
or these two shows." And then we’ll usually
People just show up and are like, "this is
gets made. And that’s how the work that’s
are able to learn.
plan that like a year in advance. We’re kin-
cool! Who’s the painter?" We want to really
already made gets selected for it. Then it’s
G: You have to strike in the right moment
da already seeing what the transition is go-
kind of bring stuff here that goes beyond
also, how is this also going to look togeth-
too. There are times where you’ll find
ing to look like. It’s kind of like designing
that crowd of people and all that. We just
er. How are these pieces going to commu-
someone and you might be able to work
the steps to getting through years worth of
want to be able to do stuff far enough out
nicate with each other and the layout of
with them at that point, but if you don’t, a
art shows. Every now and then, we might
to really generate some interest, so if we’re
the show. It’s not just, "hey that’s a fucking
year later they might be super big and then
run into a situation where we’re like, "hey
bringing something from say, Canada to
cool ass painting."
we can’t. It’s also a lot about striking at the
we’ve got some time, let’s throw together
here. Because what does it really matter
DO YOU EVER SEE ANYTHING AND
right moment not too soon, because I’ve
an art show.’ Those are usually just like,
geographically? I guess it doesn’t. What
WONDER, HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS
done it too soon and the person hasn’t re-
"let’s go get our friends together and hang
matters is what’s the best work that we can
WORK WITH WHAT WE’RE DOING?
ally been ready yet, and then they go on to be fucking huge. Like two years later…
a bunch of work and have fun. And make
get. And a lot of times that has to go farther
G: All the time.
it look good. And have it have some sella-
than where we live.
D: That’s what we are doing with this guy
D: You can never tell with that stuff. You
bility. And make it some kind of themat-
IN TERMS OF THAT, WHEN YOU LOOK
from Canada. We found him at an art fair
just do what you like to do. You can see
ic, conceptual contribution," but really it’s
AT A PIECE, WHAT TO YOU
in 2012. We walked in and he had this
signs that point towards that.
those situations that just kind of happen.
DETERMINES THAT YOU WANT THIS IN
amazing piece right near the entrance,
G: You have to be well-informed about
I DIDN’T KNOW YOU GUYS PLANNED
and we were like, "fuck that’s so amazing.
what’s going on as a whole in the art world
AHEAD LIKE THAT.
G: First of all, everything that I always want
Wouldn’t it be cool to have something like
and where to make insightful decisions
G&D TOGETHER: Oh yeah.
is gone. All my favorite stuff. 9.8 out of 10
that in the space?" Because it was in the
about your own programming. But at the
G: We have already started booking in 2017.
times my first pick will always be account-
grand entrance of the fair. Anyway the guy
same time, not letting other people’s cura-
D: The show we have in September, we’ve
ed for. So, then I have to rely upon my
came up to our booth and was just like, "I
torial decisions incite what you are doing.
been working with the guy since 2012
backup. And my backup is usually gone
love what you guys do." And we started
You kinda have to have a critical distance
on the idea for it. You have to have that
too. So sometimes it turns into, unless
befriending him and he said, "I made that."
to appreciate and have a general under-
much time. There’s no way you can pro-
you're working with an artist that is direct-
And we were like, "you’re the guy who
standing of what is going on around you,
duce the kind of work we wanna show
ly making you specific work, you run into
made that?" And he said he wanted to work
and what is needed and what is not need-
that fast. Plus, when you’re going, here’s a
that problem a lot. It’s a lot of push and pull
with us. And we were like, "hell yeah! How
ed. "What's there too much of, what is the
good example, that’s about bringing peo-
and compromise and just being able to get
do we do it though?" And so that’s just how
trend, and what’s something that's time-
ple from other markets here. This guy is
what you can get.
it’s been. When we met him in 2012, he al-
less?" There’s lots of questions you have
from Quebec and just that whole process
SO THAT’S HOW YOU PICK?
ready had stuff booked for 2013 into 2014.
to ask yourself before actually committing
of getting his work from country to coun-
D: When we’re working with people who
And now we are going into 2015, which is
to getting something to the gallery you’re
try, going through customs. Then, trying
have a concept for a show, when you’re
us. That’s why things like that take so long.
to get people here early enough to get
talking about something a year out, that
That’s usually how it happens. You find
interested in that person’s work. Find out
usually is to create the entire script of the
something and you’re like, "shit we have
INTERVIEW BY NATASHA BRITO
Austere MADE // 27
PHOTOGRAPHER SAMUEL OMARE MODELS NAJAH ISAAC & ASHLEY STUART
These photos come from the idea of how colors contrast against natural skin tone. The tennis court was perfect for this due to its sharp lines and strong, recognizable colors. The models laid themselves in angles to heighten the lines and promote a feel of symmetry. The photo where both heads aren't seen was done to focus on the skin tones.
Austere MADE // 29
WE'RE SORRY, BUT WE'VE CHOSEN TO GO IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.
DEAR ARTIST, WE REGRET TO TELL YOU
WE ARE SO SORRY TO INFORM YOU
We spoke with New York based photographer Dana Stirling about publishing a book of rejection letters.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DOCUMENT YOUR REJECTIONS AND MAKE THIS BOOK? I made this book in the beginning out of frustration. I wanted to make something that I could look at and not only be inspired by it, but will make me happy. This book was not made out of anger towards those who rejected me, but more from a place of self-doubt and trying to reclaim my artistic passion. I had a period of several rejections in a short time span. I was worried about my work, and starting to think it might not have a right fit out there. Once I 30
actually made the book and showed it to people, I saw that they could relate to it in many ways. People started to tell me about their rejection letters and the different styles and comments they received about their own work. I realized that people were happy to finally be able to talk about their rejections without judgment. It made people feel comfortable to talk about their own personal rejection. Now, my goal is to make people happy with this book. To see rejection in a more humorist way, not so seriously. I hope that this book can inspire others, as it did me.
OVER WHAT TIMESPAN DID YOU RECEIVE THESE REJECTIONS? I’ve been submitting my work for the past 2-3 years to over three hundred places. The latest letter I used in my book is from 10/29/2013. There might be earlier ones, but places that never replied (which are rejections in my eyes) could not have being part of the book as they are not written. As I continued to make this book into an edition of 150, I decided to make it in other colors: Purple, Red, Orange, Green and Grey. I liked the fact that each book holds a different point of view, a different feeling and emotions that is associated with its color. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PRINT IT AS A SWATCH BOOK? I think that a "traditional" book would have given it a narrative. All of the rejection letters are the same. Nothing is more important then the other; therefore it made no sense to create it in an ordinary book format. This way, the fan allows you to look at them in no real order, and also you see them all at once. I like the idea that the book is connected in one place—it keeps it all from falling apart. The rejection letters always seem to come out of a template, like color swatches. They are templates and they are all generic even though they pretend to be unique.
WHAT DOES THIS SERIES MEAN TO YOU? WHAT DO YOU HOPE IT WILL MEAN TO OTHERS? I think this book means a point in my life that I am able to understand rejections and the art world (as much as this is even possible). I used to think that rejection was an indication about you as an artist, about the quality of your work. I think this book allowed me to re-think this idea of what it means to actually be an artist and to allow myself to fail. These rejection are a small part in this large path of shaping yourself as a person and artist. If we don’t learn to embrace these rejections, these “failures” we won’t be able to see our success and push forward towards it. I hope this book helps people. Allows them to look at my letters, and see themselves. It should inspire, and also make you smile and think about your own rejections with a sense of humor instead of sadness and despair. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED FROM REJECTION? I think the biggest lesson is that you should always try again. I was rejected from several places over the years, yet now some have shared my book on their website/social media/blog and more. Your work might not fit at this moment, but it might in a few months
or years. Sometimes it depends on the person that looks at your email and work, in that specific time and moment. You should always try again, never give up, try and show your work to as many people as possible. WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE HAVE YOU RECEIVED TO THIS SERIES? The reaction I got online from people was mostly really amazing. People have been contacting me to actually purchase it (something I wasn't expecting) and in addition to say that the book inspired them to carry on, to submit to more places and felt that they are not alone in this situation. Some bad comments I saw were mainly criticizing my young age. Many people felt that I was too young for this kind of project and that I should get more experience, and more rejections before I could make this book. I was sad to see these reactions. I would think that people with experience that have been rejected would see it differently. I felt as if they looked at me as someone who is whining about my situation, and that there are many people out there that were rejected. I think these people missed the main point of my book. This is not a book about quantity. This book was made to share my story, my personal emails in the hope that other people could relate and see that we ALL
get rejected. We ALL get these email, and we are all talented and work hard to show our work. We are in the same boat.
I think rejection is for everyone. No one can own rejections. I’ve been told that— you are always too young until you get too old. And I think that’s something very true in the art world. People I’ve met in person, and friends and family are very supportive. Almost each of them started to share the long list of rejections they have received. I felt that people finally started to talk about these things out loud, with their peers, and feel safe about it—no judgment. INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES
PHOTO COURTESY OF DANA STIRLING
Austere MADE // 31
HOW DID BABE VIBES COME TO BE? I began Babe Vibes in mid-2014 because I wanted to create a publication/ project that spoke about some of the ideas I was interested in: vulnerability, identity, self-care, and women—and experiment with loose ideas I had about making digital publications. Babe Vibes has evolved since then; now I’m trying to think of it less as a publication and more as an art and design collective. I want to be able to make a broad range of creative design work that isn’t limited to an idea of what publication is or isn’t. HOW DO YOU FIND THE PEOPLE THAT YOU FEATURE? They are usually rad women I admire from afar, I tend to follow them online, and then reach out to see if they are interested in collaborating with me/us/ Babe Vibes. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT COLLABORATION AFFECTS THE CREATIVE PROCESS? I think it’s a key way to create good work. I have a lot of skills and interesting perspectives, but almost all creative work is better when supplemented with another person with different skills and perspectives. The ideas and disagreements that come from collaboration almost always make the work better and more interesting—it automatically changes initial assumptions. It’s much more interesting. 32
B A B E VIBES Kara Haupt is the babe behind Babe Vibes, a collective of creative women. They interview babes and make publications on topics such as self-care.
WE THINK PROJECTS LIKE THESE ARE ESSENTIAL. WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CREATE PROJECTS THAT ARE SPECIFIC TO WOMEN? I’m less interested in creating work that is “specific to women” and much more interested in just making work with only women. A lot of woman-specific media is created that makes limited assumptions about what women are and want (including stuff we’ve done for Babe Vibes!), so I’m now just like, “okay, here’s a rad woman, I’m just asking to her what she wants to make with me and we’ll go from there.”
I kind of stare at them in confusion. Ha. It’s important to love ourselves because we are worthy of love. Hating oneself is crippling. It’s boring, too. WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU PERSONALLY PRACTICE SELF- CARE? I purposely do not speak to myself with tough love. I don’t respond to it, I’m a fucking hard worker and I know if I’m exhausted or feeling lazy or sad, I have a really good reason to be. So, I try to speak to myself and set expectations for myself that balance what I know I’m capable of (infinity) and what I can do in a day (not infinity). I also try to sleep a lot and spend chill time with friends and pursue conversations and people that challenge, but don’t drain me.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH SUCH INSPIRING WOMEN? It’s life-giving. Only making work with women has changed my life. The hard WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DISCUSS work and creativity in process I consis- SELF- CARE? tently see from women is unlike any- There are lot of guilt and assumptions thing I’ve seen from the most success- related to self-care that I think have to ful of men. Women find their power in do with an assumption that self-care is much more interesting ways, I think selfish (and somehow that equals bad) because it’s not just handed to us. or that self-care is an inaccessible, bourgie day at the spa. I wanted to re-oriWHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO WORK ent the discussion to talk about selfHARD AND LOVE YOURSELF? care in more practical and accessible Hmm, to me it’s the most fulfilling way ways, and also discuss self-care in the to live my life—the working hard part. way we talk to and about ourselves. Other people have different goals for their lives and I think that’s fine, though
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE A DIALOGUE ABOUT SELF- CARE FOR FEMALE CREATIVES? My days are pretty boring right now—I work a day job doing design work. I tend to get up a little early before I leave for work to work on Babe Vibes or freelance. Right now I’m working on Babe Vibes at night and on the weekend, and working my ass off. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON RECENTLY? Right now I’m working on a project inspired by the latest Beyonce album. It’s going to be a print publication and digital experience and I am so excited! WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP CREATING? The emails I get from women and young women about Babe Vibes and the impact it’s had on them. My friend Mei. The way my heart swells when I know we’ve made something good. WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU THINK EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW?
That, right now, it’s time to start. INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES
PHOTO COURTESY OF KARA HAUPT
Austere MADE // 33
AROUND TOWN WITH SOKO PHOTOGRAPHER MIRIAM MARLENE WALDNER
Photographer Miriam Marlene Waldner captured moments with french singer-songwriter and actress, Soko. We really wish we were there.
Austere MADE // 37
38 PHOTOGRAPHER MIRIAM MARLENE WALDNER
Austere MADE // 39
40 PHOTOGRAPHER MIRIAM MARLENE WALDNER
Austere MADE // 41
YOU SEEM LIKE SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T
through music I will give back to the world
LIKE A LOT OF ATTENTION, HOW DID YOU
and make a genuine positive change in my
BRING YOURSELF TO RELEASE YOUR
community and beyond. I’ve yet to officially
WORK TO THE WORLD?
release an album, but it is the next step in this
True, I don’t care for attention, but recogni-
journey of mine.
tion and respect are important to me. Know-
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT YOUR PRO-
ing that others can connect with my art, mis-
GRESSION THROUGH YOUR MUSIC?
sion or message is more than enough. My art
I am still fairly new at creating music but I’m
expresses far more than I could ever say with
proud of the progress I’ve made with the lit-
words and holds all that I wish to share with
tle I’ve taught myself. It hasn’t been an easy
the world. Though it’s easy, I put my soul in
journey, but that has made me appreciate all
all that I do and I believe others can recog-
that I’ve accomplished. When I first began
nize it. I’ve learned that vulnerability is a vital
creating music the theme of my lyrics would
step towards acceptance, liberation, and pro-
flux between longing and letting go. Through
gression. It’s refreshing to gift ones creations
these songs I was able to heal the pain I held
to the world. As for the work I’ve “released”
inside myself due to past disappointments.
thus far, it consists of a vast collection of first
My next writing phase expressed my fulfill-
drafts I captured live in my living room us-
ment through the unconditional harmony,
ing an app on my phone. It wasn’t my inten-
balance and beauty nature provides in all.
tion for anyone to hear them or even know
Then there are songs which clearly express
it was me. However, the universe has other
my frustration with the illusions, sabotage
plans for me because within five months of
and division that exist in society. It is clear
uploading my demos online and playing my
to me that music is a way for me to release
first show as Moth Face, I gained the atten-
my pent up emotions as well as a means by
tion of D Magazine, The Dallas Observer and
which to explore my inner depth, truth and
Gorilla vs. Bear. If it wasn’t for the sudden and
unexpected growing support I received from
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WRITING
both the local and then global community I
probably would have kept this facet of myself
I would say that I don’t have a conventional
hidden for all of my life. The acceptance of
writing process. My process is unique be-
my art, which I believe to be raw, honest and
cause I don’t write my lyrics down, I actually
imperfect, paved a magical road on which I
create them in the moment and remember
want to continue to travel and explore con-
them. It wasn’t until recently that I typed
fidently. This experience awakened a higher
the lyrics to all my songs just in case I forget
perspective and purpose in me. I realize that
them because I’m up to 40+ demos now. To
MOTH FACE IS MYSTIFYING The elusive Sandra Davalos talked to us about creating music as Moth Face and starting a global art collective and movement.
serve as one of many catalyst for inspiration
begin the writing process I start by creating a
and that can serve the goodwill of all.
yet deeply rooted to me. Soon I will purchase
rhythm that resonates with me using drums
WHEN DID IT CLICK THAT CREATING ART
an interface which will open up a whole new
amongst peers to start their own creative en-
and synth. Beat is incredibly important to
IS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO?
world of recording and release possibilities. I
deavors, big or small!
me. Once I have that down, I play it over and
I would say ever since I was young I knew.
know it’s such a simple step, but it will have
WHAT'S AN AVERAGE DAY MAKING MUSIC?
over in order to feel it through and to connect
My early education definitely helped me dis-
profound impact on my creative process.
A day in the studio with Moth Face is fruitful.
with my inner self. My lyrics and style emerge
cover my strong artistic inclinations. How-
HOW DID CEMETERY SISTERS START?
I spend my time creating minimal beats on
from within my subconscious. Before I vocal-
ever growing up poor did limit me in some
For a while I wanted to find a way to unite
my drum machine and trying out vocals. I
ize anything, I hear it first inside of my mind.
ways. For example, when I was five I asked
artists from all around the world through our
feel my voice is the most powerful attribute in
This is a crucial step because this is where the
my parents for a keyboard but they couldn’t
combined passion for the arts. I feel art is the
my music, besides the rhythms I create. Orig-
melody is born as well as the first line which
afford to get me one. Same goes for a guitar
gateway to unifying humanity since it can
inally I began as Moth Face with the use of an
I rarely ever change. It usually take me about
when I was twelve. However, I didn’t let that
be so personal, yet touch so many in unique
electronic drum kit, a drum machine, and a
20 to 30 minutes from start to finish.
discourage or hold me back. In fact it made
and profound ways. One day an opportunity
mic. It’s a minimal set up. In the beginning I
WHY DO YOU CREATE AND WHAT DOES
me more curious about music and essentially
arose when Tyler DuBois came to me for help
used to play the drum kit with my left hand,
BEING AN ARTIST MEAN TO YOU?
lead to my profound love for it. By age twelve
duplicating cassettes of his new solo album
the synth with my right hand, and sing into a
I create because it enriches my life and keeps
I was listening to the local jazz and classical
for his project Flirt. His album was a beat tape
microphone situated in between. It was frus-
me connected to my purpose here on Earth. It
stations every night before bed. By age fifteen
infused with philosophical verse. I liked it so
trating and took a lot of patience, determina-
is a natural force in me and it’s benefits abun-
I had established my personal music taste and
much I figured why not release it and thus
tion and endurance to arrive anywhere with
dant. It would be in vain for me to breathe and
had a vast library featuring artists like Boards
the tape label was born. Since then Cemetery
a song. Eventually I learned how to record on
love, if not also to create. For me, I find joy
of Canada, The Knife, CocoRosie, and Black
Sisters has expanded into a global humani-
the drum machine and that helped me ex-
and inner peace through drawing, singing,
Moth Super Rainbow.
tarian art collective and movement where art
pand my reach. I could then easily play other
and writing poetry. To me artists represent
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE MOTH FACE
is the new currency and collaboration is key.
instruments over it and have more freedom
hope for a better world and future in it. It is
TO THOSE WHO HAVE YET TO HEAR YOUR
Cemetery Sisters started in early 2014 and is
with vocals. With each new practice, I con-
through us where true freedom lives on and
based in Dallas, TX with connections all over
tinue to learn and discover something about
happiness, creativity and imagination thrive.
Moth Face is magic. It’s nonconforming, di-
the world. My sister Janeth Davalos, a talent-
myself and style. To me it says a lot about my
I feel a true artist shares a profound connec-
verse and totally free to be whatever it will be.
ed illustrator, graphic designer and writer,
artistic potential and future in music because
tion to everything living, including earth and
What sets Moth Face apart is that there is no
is my partner in Cemetery Sisters. We are a
it feels like I’ve worked so hard, with so little.
humanity. To me artists are the ones who
set genre or language. My sound ranges from
dynamic duo with complimenting artistic
As of now I am totally ready to evolve into the
brave this harsh world while finding beauty
heavenly ukulele melodies with gentle vocals,
interests ranging from different spectrums of
next stage of my journey are singer-song-
all around and especially within. As an artist
to euphoric dream pop with rich vocals, to
the art world. I am curator of all the releas-
it is important for me to express my origi-
dark electronic rhythms with haunting vo-
es and am fortunate because my sister and
nality and bring to light the inner truth I feel
cals that pull at one’s heart strings. I consider
I can design anything needed for a release
we all share. I believe with all my heart that
moth face to be mainly a minimal electron-
such as final product and package design. We
INTERVIEW BY MORGAN GENTRY
all human beings are artists in their own spe-
ic project, with high experimental overtones.
specialize in releasing the best underground
PHOTOGRAPHER/COLLAGE ARTIST JANETH
cial way. We each can contribute something
All my songs thus far are raw recordings of
artists from around the world in every genre
DAVALOS, CEMETERY SISTERS
wonderful to this world from each of our per-
live performances I’ve captured in my living
and art form there is and will be inspired to
spectives that will be appreciated by others
room. Each unique in feeling and message,
be. We hope that leading by example will Austere MADE // 43
Beijing's leader in experimental psychedelia, Chui Wan, is pushing all the right boundaries. We were dying to see how the band formulates such a philosophical sound. Take a peek into their world from our chat with mastermind, lead vocalist and violinist Yan Yulong about their recent release, fate-driven connection and the sound of music.. HOW WAS YOUR FIRST NORTH AMERICAN TOUR? ANY MAJOR CULTURE SHOCKS THAT YOU WEREN’T EXPECTING? Actually we didn’t get our Canadian visas in time to make it there on the tour… But to make up for that we got to visit Yellowstone National Park, that was really spectacular. I love Montana! I feel that America’s cultural influence on the rest of the world is quite large. When you are in the US the feeling is quite different from being other places. New York and Philadelphia left the deepest impressions on me. I’ve always really liked Baudrillard’s America… I like the way he describes the US. WITH TWO RECORDS TO DATE, WHITE NIGHT AND THE SELF-TITLED CHUI WAN, WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF YOUR SOUND? I think the most important point is that we’re trying to make our musical ideas more succinct, less ornamental.
Of course, everyone has their own favorites types of music, what each person hears will be different. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT BEIJING’S POST-PUNK / PSYCHEDELIC MUSIC SCENE,THE D22 BANDS, PSYCHONEY, ZOOMIN’ NIGHT AND THE MID-NOUGHTIES? THAT’S WHERE IT ALL STARTED FOR CHUI WAN, YES? Right, our earliest performances were at D-22’s Zoomin’ Night, that was our point of origin. That environment gave us the most inspiration, the greatest feeling of freedom. These days, with respect to Beijing’s experimental music scene (post-D-22 Zoomin’ Night, as well as Subjam shows), I have really great expectations. As for the rock scene, I think that now it lacks the energy and vitality it had before. AS A QUARTET, THERE IS MORE TO YOUR ART THEN JUST PLAYING MUSIC WITH ONE OTHER. WHAT MOVES YOU TO CREATE? WHAT DOES BEING AN ARTIST MEAN TO YOU? All of us have our separate day jobs, the real problem is for each of us to find a balance between our day-to-day work and our music. But when our music-related projects become really busy, we all tend to lose interest in everything else. Everyone can make art, but it’s very difficult to be a good “artist of life.”
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU SEE ART AND CREATIVITY IN PLACES THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT TRADITIONALLY ASSUME CREATIVITY EXISTS? I believe creativity has a major attraction for everyone, but in different aspects. Also, different cultures will produce different experiences or senses of creativity. Westerners often say Taku Sugimoto’s music has “Zen” overtones, but he doesn’t think that himself. The city versus the countryside will also produce different modes of experience, different sensibilities. The sounds of a city intersection and the sounds of a mountainside in Bali are equally interesting. WE LIKE THAT YOUR MUSIC INVOLVES THE ENERGY OF NATURAL ELEMENTS, 20TH CENTURY AVANT-GARDE SOUNDS AND A VARIETY OF INSTRUMENTS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CHUI WAN’S SOUND TO SOMEONE WHO HAS YET TO HEAR YOUR MUSIC? Thank you. I say that we are a “new psychedelic and experimental rock band.” EACH SONG IS FULL OF MULTI-LAYERED SOUNDS AND SAMPLES, BUT IT SEEMS YOU’VE SWITCHED FROM NOISE ROCK TO A MORE SMOOTHED OUT SOUND. DURING YOUR WEEK OF RECORDING CHUI WAN, WAS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN A SONG FELT OVERSATURATED
WITH MUSICAL TEXTURE? Haha, good question! Before recording the new album we discussed exactly this, thought it through quite distinctly. We wanted to simplify the source material of our music, to focus, and make sure each track sounded exactly how we want it to sound. YAN, YOU MENTIONED IN A PREVIOUS INTERVIEW THAT THE BAND WAS FORMED BY FATE. HOW HAVE YOU GROWN WITH THIS IDEA? DO YOU FEEL IT MAKES IT EASIER TO EXPLORE DIFFERENT SOUNDS TOGETHER? Is there anything that was not organized by fate? YOUR BAND NAME AND MUSIC IS RESONATED WITHIN THE DAOIST PHILOSOPHY OF ZHUANGZI, AND YOUR SOUND GENUINELY FEELS LIKE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE MYSTIC SPIRIT OF NATURE AND THE COMPLEXITY OF HUMAN LIFE. DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOUR MUSIC HOLDS MORE SUBSTANCE BECAUSE OF THE FOUNDATION IT WAS CREATED ON? Thank you for saying that. Speaking in terms of the spirit or the mind, this is certainly the case. I also really like the American spirit of openness. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHUI WAN
FATE BROUGHT CHUI WAN
"IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WAS NOT ORGANIZED BY FATE?"
The experimental psychedelic rock band from Beijing you need to know.
Austere MADE // 45
BEDROOM PUNK WITH
COSIMA JAALA For those that donâ€™t know her, we'd like to introduce to you Cosima Jaala. Her raw and mesmerizing voice makes me feel some type of way. We were instantly hooked to the way her and her newest band, Jaala, ooze with soul, punk, honesty and talent. The 26-yearold beaut from Melbourne is a fresh face on our side of the hemisphere and creating buzz down under. We got a little familiar with this musical firecracker, chatting about the art of creating and paving your own path.
WHY DO YOU CREATE AND WHAT COMES TO GENRES, DO YOU THINK myself and exploring the instrument. I DOES BEING AN ARTIST MEAN TO THE MUSIC CULTURE AS A WHOLE IS also play in a party band called MangelYOU? EVOLVING INTO A MELTING POT OF wurzel. I had written about 50 minutes I remember being 7 years old, standing SOUNDS? of music that really didn’t suit the vibe at the bottom of a staircase and looking The songs are influenced by many dif- of Mangelwurzel so I thought maybe it up at one of my mother's friends on the ferent sources... It's hard to really pin- was time to start a new project. My dear landing. She asked me what I wanted point direct influences, especially be- friend Loretta offered to play bass and to be when I grew up. Enthusiastically I cause I never know what I'm going to suggested we ask a woman called Mareplied, “an artist!”, To which she quick- write. I don’t know what I’m doing on ria to play drums. We were a trio for a ly responded, 'why, do you want to be the guitar, I'll just make different shapes month or so and then asked Nicolas to poor and miserable?' She was an artist with my hands and fiddle around until join. I feel incredibly honored that such herself and looked quite wrecked and I stumble on something that grabs my amazing musicians would want to deddeflated up there. attention. Jaala's songs have lots of feel icate their time to play my songs, or, the That moment really stuck with me. I changes, not arbitrarily, but because 'anthems of my neuroses,' as I fondly think we all have within us the desire I have problems, the rhythm of life is call them. Its pretty terrifying someto create but it comes down to whether complex, and I wanna kill boredom with times, singing out all my most secret or not you’re passionate enough to an axe. I'm mostly interested in music and pathetic thoughts to a room full of sacrifice the two-car garage, suburban that sounds bold and daring. I like how strangers. I sometimes ask why I would dream. There is a real tendency for sublimely conventional Burt Bacha- want to share in this way. I hope people people to apply a lateral, goal-oriented rach's melodies are while at the same get something out of it. When I think logic to creative pursuits, but I think time appreciating the flamboyance and about how much music has gotten me that is a trap. absurdity of someone sublimely un- through, it makes more sense. That mode of thinking has more to conventional, like Frank Zappa. I basi- WE LOVE SEEING OTHER WOMEN do with being 'successful', but I've al- cally like brain-melting shit – 4/4 can KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES. ways felt that true art is something you go fuck a dead donkey, some of the time. HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE should be able to pour down the sink WHERE DID YOU PULL INSPIRATION PUNK MUSIC SCENE BEEN? without flinching. There is something FOR YOUR UPCOMING ALBUM? Growing up, many of my musical idols really exciting about trawling the un- Jaala is what I've always referred to as were powerful, wild males like Nick derbelly of society and giving it nice 'bedroom music.' Songs perhaps too Cave. I'd always felt I couldn't follow rubs and revealing some of the truths I personal to share and usually creat- in their footsteps because I was a girl. find down there. I'd rather be a spanner ed as a way of navigating and under- I found punk music at a time when I in the works then a cog in the wheel. standing the deep sea heavy feels. Last needed to foster courage within myself IT’S EVIDENT YOU DON’T REALLY year I bought a little 60's Harmony off a - I've since seen this be the case for budCOLOR WITHIN THE LINES WHEN IT friend and spent many hours teaching ding female musicians who are playing
'catch-up' on all the years lost feeling ostracized by a male-centric industry/ activity. Early on I was in really loose bands; I had no idea what I was doing but it felt good just to make noise. If people became fixated on those bands being all-female, it would piss me off. Sexism is rife in the music community but I hope that one day people can critique music without mentioning gender, especially because it is such a fluid thing. WHAT IS SOME ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG CREATIVES TRYING TO FIND THEIR FOOTING? The hardest thing for any artist is finding your own voice: imitation can help get the wheels in motion but only up to a point. Don't limit your expression just because it might not currently be in trend, and don't muffle your own truth, There is so much fake bullshit in the world, be brave. INTERVIEW BY MORGAN GENTRY
PHOTO COURTESY OF JAALA
With production from Hiatus Kaiyote’s bassist Paul Bender, Hard Hold is set to release in October. Get a head start and follow Jaala on Soundcloud. Thanks for being so rad Cosi, we can’t wait to hear what else you have to offer the world!
Austere MADE // 47
DOM INANCE PHOTOGRAPHER SMIN SMITH ART DIRECTION SAMPA CHIPASHA & CLAUDIA CARVER STYLISTS SMIN SMITH & CLAUDIA CARVER ASSISTANT STYLIST CARYS GRIFFITHS HMUA CLAUDIA CARVER MODELS CATHERINE HICKMAN & REBECCA LATTER CLOTHING LAURA ROBERTS 'COAL NOT DOLE’ INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES
Dominance revolves around different types of female power and strength, opposing the heterosexual and male-orientated visions that have become the norm. After reading ‘The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes’ we began to investigate stripes as the costume of “deviants” throughout history, from prisoners to court jesters, those who transgress the normal order. As our compositions deviate away from traditional misogynistic and heteronormative visions
of femininity this seemed a fitting choice, and during testing we began to play with juxtaposing these different stripes to give an optical illusion effect. Mostly, Dominance is a celebration of the strength of female creatives, from the amazing designs of Laura Roberts that celebrate Welsh-womanhood, to the multiple-roles that our contributors took on the editorial, and the strong and scrappy natures of all women that fight to be a part of this industry.
Austere MADE // 51
â€œI think the fashion industry has a tendency to be perceived as frivolous, but so much academic research actually takes place before an editorial is shot. A lot of our favourite editorials have strong visions as a result of conscious reflection upon that which has come before.â€?
Austere MADE // 53
â€œAll the women who collaborated on this shoot, not only helped to individually build the components, but also influenced the artistic direction with their own personal visions of strength and power. To be a female creative is to have daring, courage and strength in a world where white, male visions are still pandered to above all. Claudia, Sampa and I worked very closely throughout this personal project, combining our aesthetics and visions to produce the final vision.â€?
Austere MADE // 55
56 PHOTOS BY NAME HERE, PHOTOGRAPHER NATASHA COMPANY/AGENCY BRITO
CHARLES SMITH II IS A MAD MAN.
And we followed him down the rabbit hole. INTERVIEW BY NATASHA BRITO
One of our favorite conversations with Harlem bred, Dallas-based fashion designer Charles Smith was about what we would do if we fell off a roller coaster. He said he felt confident that his ability to stay extremely calm under high pressure could save him. Nothing phases or surprises him anymore. Charles isn't like anyone we've ever met. He can talk about anything. For hours. In a lot of ways Charles is an enigma, but at the same time he is incredibly open to sharing his experiences and passions. We weren't entirely sure what to do with this interview, so here it is more or less verbatim, the best of Charles Smith II. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE HAD TO MAKE PERSONAL SACRIFICES FOR YOUR WORK? I make sacrifices every damn day. I can't hangout. I can't party all the time. I can't even have regular relationships because the other person can't understand this way of living. Because it's different. My whole life has not been normal. I've never had that ever in my life. Even before I started modeling. I mean yeah I went to school, then I'm out on the motherfucking streets slanging and shit like a lil boy fresh on this block, so my mom and us can eat. It's not normal. For me it was normal. Then I got scouted. 2 weeks later I'm walking in shows in Milan. Now, in this high fashion community, there are all these characters and personalities. That world is detached from reality. If you aren't in it, you don't get it. We don't live in a box, so there is no time. It's just really detached from reality. I was overseas, going to all these shows, and meeting all these
people in the venues who are millionaires, and that's not realistic! I'm so not in the matrix. I've been unplugged for a long time. I know how things move and I know how this world works in a very high up way. I've been in the estates of families whose parents have invented the banking system. It's not real. It's not real for people to understand. It sounds like a fantasy. HOW IS COUTURE FASHION SIGNIFICANT TO YOU? DO YOU FIND IT NECESSARY? It's necessary, because it's a skill set that people aren't aware of. When you can see the making of something it helps you appreciate it so much more. The skillset that you have to have and know and learn. In Paris they have these different tools and machines that we don't even have here. When you see something that's Haute Couture and it's from Paris, it's real. It has to be from Paris. The process is necessary for people to understand. Once you do, you'll be able to understand why things cost so much. YOU RECENTLY STARTED A NEW READY TO WEAR LINE CALLED S2, WHAT INSPIRED THIS? Well what inspired it was just me going back to the reason I started designing. S2 by Smith the second is my diffusion line so it is a separation from the Smith the second line [which is higher end]. I wanted people to have something of mine that is affordable and still [allows you to] eat after buying it. On top of that, I wanted to revisit street chic in a kind of a more refined way than the first time I did it, so itâ€™s kind of like correcting mistakes in a sense. But I still gave it the love, Austere MADE // 57
attention and detail in the designs as if it was my higher end lines. So I didn’t cheat it just because it cost less. I still put every inch of whatever I could into each and every single design and that’s kind of why I ended up designing this line. I know not everyone can afford a $1000 shirt or $2000 skirt, especially people that are my age. I just wanted everyone to have something. WHAT INSPIRED YOUR LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT TO HELP YOUR ALMA MATER? It’s a way for people to obviously support the cause but they also get something of me from that. I always want people to feel appreciated. I wear this bitch all damn near every day. It’s comfortable and still dope to me. The simplicity of the paint stripes... it’s kind of abstract and subliminal in an artistic way. The S2 in the back represents my movement that I’m trying to create. As far as this collection being for our youth – I’m trying to ask people to help me help the youth. I just want to help. I use my resources and this vessel with my line as a way to do that and be a voice for them if they can’t or are not ready to. I know what these kids are thinking and going through with their responsibilities at this age. I just want to make sure people are aware that these kids don’t have a lot of options and me coming from that, understanding that first-hand, going back there and understanding that it’s still a problem and needs to be solved in some kind of way – even through what
I’m doing, it’s something. It’s not just people visiting; you have to show support financially. We have to be real about that shit. These kids need help; they want scholarships, they want to be able to go to school. They need awareness that there are more things out there besides sports, drugs and entertainment. With that message coming from someone as young as me, they don’t see me as some old geezer, they look at me like I’m their older brother because I’m not that far in age from them and on top of it, it’s my school. I grew up In this same area; I know what’s out here. I’m still very involved in south Dallas as far as it goes. All my friends still live in south Dallas. I do migrate in different worlds but home is where the heart is. I’m from New York originally, but this is my second home. When I came here it’s like I moved to a different southern version of Harlem. Cause it’s still the hood; it’s still everything that Harlem was. They embrace me even though I came from a different city since we did have all these commonalities because we all played basketball so we just all got taken care of so you know, we always had each other’s back. They even see me on social media and when I go back there it’s like there’s no hate, it’s all love. They give me praise me every time like “keep doing that shit.” Cause they see that I represent more than just myself. They see how I always speak about where I come from and
I don’t forget that. When they see that, they see that I’m still down; I’m still with them. You can’t forget where you come from. I’m not saying you still have to be the way you used to be but if there’s still a way to still represent where you come from… for me, I found this vessel to do that, in order to show in the music selection I pick for a show and the culture. I can switch from trap to classical. I know how to infuse everything that I represent into one situation. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SLOW-FASHION MOVEMENT? Haute Couture? It’s not mass. I mean, that's why people in Paris prefer it that way. There's a history for every fashion house. They've all been around since before people knew about that shit. That’s how I operate, just like a fashion house, in a sense. That's what I want to bring to Dallas. And there are designers here, but none of us clash. What I do is different; it's not the same. What I do, no one has done. And I can say that because I do my research. That's why I can say certain things confidently, because I've done my research. Because I do look to see if there is anyone that does what I'm doing or even close to it. But it's like, they don't. And it's not because they can't, it's because my journey and path in fashion is just different. Because I started overseas in Europe and my knowledge of what I know and what I've seen is that of what people dream of. Luckily I was
around it when I was 14 all the way up until 4 years ago. I've been in that environment all my life. And I think that's why people feel taken about what I do because when they see it, they get a little bit of that. They see Vogue and they see fashion shows, and I give them that. It's the attention to detail and the creative of what I'm doing. It makes it easy for me to do that because everyone does the same thing. Even with the runway formation, they do the same thing. It's just boring. I don’t even know what to say. How can I do this shit on nothing? I have an imagination and a sense of being in tune with people and me wanting to give people an experience. Something that they can be excited about. They don't pay attention to that. I don't do anything for money. I do it because I love it and it comes natural to me. I just want to give people something. Something to be moved by. I just want to open people's minds. I've been able to experience certain things and I want other people to experience them too. Hopefully inspire someone to do something like me or do it better. We're in Dallas, we can support one another. We've become the city to support one another. We can't do it if people are just doing things with the wrong intentions. Ultimately I am a servant to the people. I'm doing this is for everybody else. I want everybody else to enjoy wearing it like I do. I want this positivity throughout the world but I'll start with Dallas.
I DON'T DO ANYTHING FOR MONEY. I DO IT BECAUSE I LOVE IT AND IT COMES NATURAL TO ME. I JUST WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING. SOMETHING TO BE MOVED BY. I JUST WANT TO OPEN PEOPLE'S MINDS.
Austere MADE // 59
LUCY DANG DESIGNS LOVELY CLOTHES FOR LOVELY PEOPLE Dallas-based designer Lucy Dang is one to watch out for. She has been recognized as the 2013 winner of both Texas Next Top Designer and Belk's Southern Designer Showcase. She was also kind enough of to talk to us while she was 8 months pregnant.
WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE RISING AS A DESIGNER? It was tough in the beginning because no one knew who [my team and I] were, people would ask "who's Lucy Dang?" and I'd be like "me!". Nobody knew who we were so we did a lot of charity shows and then I thought well heck, I can't spend $100,000 on PR, so how do we get free PR? So I looked into local competitions and entered Texas' Next Top Designer in 2012 and then that whole process lasted a year. In 2013 we won and that put us on the map. WE'VE BEEN TALKING A LOT ABOUT HOW A LOT OF YOUR DRESSES ARE LIKE A REAL LIFE FAIRY TALE. HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR DESIGNS EMPOWER WOMEN? I always say I want to make women feel lovely, that if they wear that gown they are going to fall in love in it or be loved in it. Our original catch phrase was "lovely clothes for lovely people". Growing up I wanted people to feel special. I’ve been accused of living a princess fairy tale. My best friend said "you just live in a Disney world.” And I was like "what is wrong with that!!" DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS DRESS? I don't have a favorite Disney princess dress, but I like them all! Actually, you know what? Maybe Cinderella, who doesn't love Cinderella? When I was
four I remember getting a Christmas present and it was a dress. I remember it was this big, blue frilly fluffy thing and I did not take it off for like a week. I vividly remember that. I love dresses! So I guess from there, here i am! I'm a dress designer. WHEN DID YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST DRESS? I think I always have [made clothing]. We immigrated from Vietnam and my mom sewed for Hager and J.C. Penney and such, so I grew up in an environment like that. I always tinkered with things; I made my own dresses in high school and things like that. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR STYLE? When I worked in New York I would wear these big floor skirts and everyone would say "you are kind of like a southern bell!" People would make fun of me saying "you're the Asian southern bell." But it kinda stuck with me, and I’ve always loved Vera Wang. When I won the the Belk competition, Arlene Goldstein was like you are kinda like the southern Vera Wang! So that's how the brand kinda evolved into this really girly southern, sweet princess thing. WHAT MADE YOU COME BACK TO DALLAS AFTER LIVING IN NEW YORK? I always knew I was going to come back to dallas; I had a game plan. I said to Bianca [my business partner and best
friend]- we are going to graduate, go to New York, and learn from everything. You are going to do this and I’m going to do this. We actually sat down and kinda set up a plan for this. My plan was for me to work in product production and for her to work in product development and sales, and then from there we would come back to Dallas and do this. Because I've always just felt like Dallas was going to grow and that fashion was going to come back to south. Plus there is so much less competition in the south than in New York where there are just thousands of companies that are start ups, and here there are maybe 10. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WORK HARD? Well what doesn't! Just the fire, you follow that flame that you have and you take it wherever it lands you. DO YOU THINK THATS WHAT GOT YOU THROUGH NEW YORK? Yes! Me and Bianca, I remember us sharing a double cheeseburger meal we were so poor, i was like "do you want to split the #4." HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOUR DESIGNS FROM SKETCH TO FINISH? Six months. Four if I’m not procrastinating. WHAT IS THAT PROCESS LIKE? Well first you go to trade shows, there are biannually big trade shows where all the mills show. So you go and you look
and get inspired, but you need to go in looking for a particular lace or color. So from there you order your samples and they send you samples and you put it on your giant mood wall of ideas, and you tune it from there. You take 100 ideas and turn them to 50 and from there it will go down further. WHAT ARE YOU GOALS FOR THIS COMING YEAR? To land our investors. WHAT WILL LANDING AN INVESTOR ALLOW YOU TO DO? Become more of a household name. Within 5 years. Having an investor means we could quit our day jobs and actually go full-time. We built this company part-time. Can you imagine what we could do full-time? You have to prioritize. And also just be focused. Last summer, we had like 20 people in the studio and it was full on production, ‘like we gotta get this to New York. And people spent the night. It’s crazy. You just gotta balance. IF YOU COULD MAKE A DRESS FOR ANYBODY EVER, WHO WOULD IT BE? *doesn’t hesitate* Scarlett O’Hara. INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES & ELIZA TRONO
PHOTO COURTESY OF LUCY DANG
Austere MADE // 61
LEFT DRESS TORY BURCHL SHOES STEVE MADDEN EARRINGS KENNETH COLE
RIGHT PONCHO TAHARI PANTS TOPSHOP NECKLACE TOPSHOP
PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD, AUSTERE ART DIRECTION NATASHA BRITO, AUSTERE HILLARY HEAD, AUSTERE STYLIST KIM WATSON MODELS MOLLI S. & GABBIE A., CALLIDUS MODELS
DRESS LUCY DANG JACKET LEITH SHOES ECOTE' BRACELETS EXPRESS
Austere MADE // 63
DRESS LUCY DANG
TRENCH COAT LONDON FOG
SHOES VINCE CAMUTO
SHOES MICHAEL KORS
TOP FREE PEOPLE SKIRT J.CREW BELT BCBG NECKLACE TOPSHOP BRACELETS LINDSEY OWEN SHOES VINCE CAMUTO
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BLACK IS A COLOR A collection by Dallas-based fashion designer Elvira Diaz. PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLAS J. HARRIS STYLIST LANDON SIMPSON HMUA SHARLI BIRDOW MODEL JAVIER BARR, WALLFLOWER MANAGEMENT CLOTHING ELVIRA DIAZ COLLECTION INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES
WHAT GOT YOU INTO MEN’S FASHION? ELVIRA: Early in college I was misguided into thinking that menswear was plain and boring due to the “limitations” in men’s fashion.” Luckily this misconception changed when I was introduced to the beautiful work of John Galliano and Rick Owens. They are the ones who have feed my passion for menswear. Plus men’s fashion allows you to play gender and that fascinates me; It’s so much easier to think about ways to make my pieces be as gender-flexible as possible, while still maintaining a “masculine” appeal.
A LOT OF YOUR WORK CHALLENGES TRADITIONAL MEN’S WEAR, WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO TAKE THIS APPROACH? Stereotyping is what inspires my design aesthetic; I’ve come across many concepts on how a person should dress according to gender, race, religion etc. There are endless discussions to be had about stereotypes/roles and the various perceptions associated with how individuals dress. Therefore most of my designs challenge men’s sexuality, which is a powerful tool that manipulates social interactions, and I find that fascinating.
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"We sought out to recreate the emotion of the ED Man from softness to sexuality or power to vulnerability." Austere MADE // 69
PHOTOGRAPHER/STYLIST/HMUA SABINE FLETCHER MODELS MICHAEL FLORENT & STEVI DAUGHERTY CLOTHING JOE VAN OVERBEEK
“AS A WHOLE, THE REASON TO SHOOT A MAN AND WOMAN IN JOE VAN OVERBEEK’S CLOTHING IS TO DISPLAY HOW FLUID FASHION IS BECOMING. A SHIRT IS NO LONGER MADE TO BE WORN BY A CERTAIN GENDER, IT IS MADE TO CONVEY AN IDEA 70
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PHOTOGRAPHER ALEX BLACK
"WE’RE REALLY INSPIRED BY “UGLINESS”, WHAT MOST PEOPLE CONSIDER TO BE WRONG AND UNAPPEALING. WE’RE JUST SO BORED WITH CONVENTIONAL BEAUTY."
THE TROLLSEN TWINSTHE
TROLLING FASHION AND TAKING NAMES
BFF stylists and bloggers Savannah Scott and Sydney Anna are the Trollsen Twins. Self-proclaimed mothers of local emerging talent in fashion, they are repping Montreal, women and unconventonal beauty. INTERVIEW BY JACQUELINE CREECH
HOW DO YOU GIRLS WORK TOGETHER? WHAT IS YOUR DYNAMIC LIKE? Aesthetically we’re on the exact same page, and that’s really great for us because it can be hard to represent one thing and be two people that are pretty different. Our tasks are divided based on our skills so the work feels more natural, never forced. Our dynamic is all about having fun and being different; we refuse to take fashion seriously but if we have a job we’ll give it everything we have, always with a goal of producing something unusual for the client. There is no greater priority to us than collaborating with brands, designers, photographers, stylists and other bloggers. Those we collaborate with are always people we know will bring a crazy new element to the table for a project, they all have these kind of specific flavors we like to mix with ours depending on the kind of project we’re doing. They all bring something to it that we could never provide and it’s that surprise that we love. WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN STYLING, AND WRITING ABOUT FASHION? Savannah is currently working on a degree in Journalism at Concordia University, and I (Sydney) graduated from Lasalle College in Fashion Design, so it’s not so much a decision we made but more a natural course our work took. I (Sydney) was styling and designing and Savannah was writing about fashion long before we met, and we both got to try each other’s trades over the years working as the Trollsen Twins. What we do is driven by an impulse to express our creativity and
an absolute love for style and fashion that we think we’ve always had in us. The interest is as old as we are! WHO AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU? We’re really inspired by “ugliness”, what most people consider to be wrong and unappealing. We’re just so bored with conventional beauty. Everyone knows how over-saturated the fashion industry is, from design to blogging, and social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr inundate our minds with unoriginal socially constructed ideas of “style” and “beauty”. We look for intelligence and humor in fashion, not only a great pair of nails holding a nice looking latte. We’re inspired by designers like Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen, Miuccia Prada, and Manish Arora. The reigning King and Queen of design in Montreal are Paulina Wonders from Atelier WONDER and Ben Lafaille from LAFAILLE. We’ve worked with both of them and are lucky to call them friends, we consider both of them to be great sources of inspiration as well. WHAT MAKES YOU WORK HARD? Probably because it doesn’t feel like work! The cliché “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is very true. We only just started and we’re also pretty new to the world in general, but we can only hope to continue doing what we love without ever having to worry about anything else. Maybe that’s why we work hard, because we’re afraid that doing anything less would mean we’d have to eventually
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stop being the Trollsen Twins. Not an option! PART OF WHY WE LIKE YOU TWO SO MUCH IS THAT IT SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A LOT OF FUN WITH YOUR WORK, DO YOU THINK THAT EVER AFFECTS THE WAY PEOPLE PERCEIVE YOU? Absolutely! Probably sometimes for the worse, but we like to think most people are looking for fun when it comes to fashion. People take themselves so seriously, and we think that if there’s one aspect of our lives where we can always have fun and show our creativity is in the way we dress. It probably seems like we’re always laughing throughout our work because we are! It would be impossible for us to behave in any other way. And as for those who don’t want any fun involved in their fashion, well we don’t really care about the way they perceive us; our idea of how style should be doesn’t align with theirs anyway! HOW DO YOU THINK PEOPLE PERCEIVE YOUR WORK ONLINE VS IRL? We portray ourselves genuinely on social media, so we think people probably have the same ideas about us in person that they have about our online personalities. We like to make people feel comfortable with being silly and being themselves around us and we think that translates to our social media too! We want people to know that 74
we live our lives just as colorfully and ridiculously as it seems online. HOW DO YOU WORK TO REPRESENT FEMINISM IN FASHION? We’re feminists through and through, in every aspect of our lives. No matter what we do we’re conveying these messages, but we physically represent it through wearing whatever we want with zero regard for expectations and others’ opinions. Women are constantly told how to look and feel when it comes to clothing and appearances, and we both really dress for ourselves, whatever makes us happy or laugh is what’s right. Any woman who has autonomy and integrity and that isn’t bound by any gender roles or expectations are doing it right. If you’re thinking that our view isn’t special in any way or that every woman thinks that way then great, you’re doing it right too! We shouldn’t expect anything less from each other. What’s really important to us now is fighting the idea that we don’t need feminism anymore because the problem is solved; women need to come together and fight for each other for equality to really happen. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CREATIVE SCENE IN CANADA? WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SCENE AND HELP IT THRIVE? There’s a lot of amazing talent in Canada
and we hope to see more of it on the big stage. The problem with our industry is that talented people tend to leave the country once they find success. What we need is more platforms for creative people to show what they’ve got. For example, Montreal’s fashion week just dissolved about a year ago. That’s a huge loss for such an imaginative city. It can be discouraging to think that even if you make something great, nobody will ever see it. Thankfully social media is a enormous platform that everyone everywhere can use! WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMMUNITY KNEW ABOUT THE TALENT IN YOUR AREA? That Montrealers are way out there. Most of the designers coming out of here are leading the way for the rest of Canada, maybe not in sales but definitely in ideas. There’s a lot of wild stuff and it really can be quite sinful out in these streets and I think that plays a big part in the art that come out of here. IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU PROMOTE LOCAL TALENT? We like to mix local people of different walks together and get them to see how amazing the results of collaboration can be, especially in a place as colorful and wild as Montreal. We’ll find a Montreal publication, pair them with a Montreal brand and use local hair and makeup artists so the entire result is home
grown! WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR GIRLS ABOUT ENCOURAGING ONE ANOTHER? Don’t give in to the expectations that the world has about women! There’s this idea that we’re catty and bitchy, that we gang up on each other and talk shit. Honestly the women in our lives are so loving and generous and encouraging it’s impossible for us to imagine them cutting each other down. Women go through a lot of bullshit, and if we don’t stick together and encourage each other then we’ll never reach perfect equality. Step outside your insecurities and see things worth encouraging in one another, it’ll come back to you and pay off hugely. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD? Probably that we feel a sort of motherly duty towards local talent, especially those we’ve reached out to and worked with. If we want to collaborate it means we really believe that you’ve got something nobody else has and we promise that our loyalty and support will never run out! We wish success to everyone out there who wakes up every morning and does everything they can to show the world who they are and help others along the way. // TrollsenTwins.com
PHOTOS BY ALEX BLACK
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SNAIL SLOW FASHION BY JONA SEES
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JONA SEES
INTERVIEW BY NATASHA BRITO
HOW SLOW IS SLOW FASHION? It’s not really about the individual garment. The time to produce a garment varies from piece to piece. By “slow fashion” I mean that I don’t run the race to get the current best seller to the consumer. I disregard trends and work on a different timeline. WHAT LIMITATIONS DO YOU FIND IN WORKING WITH SLOW FASHION? There is a ceiling for commercial success. And when you don’t play by the rules you don’t get a lot of love from the big powers in the industry. In the end it’s more work. WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE TONES AND COLORS YOU USE FOR YOUR GARMENTS? I generally prefer variations of grey. Humans are all so colorful and unique, I think grey is the best frame for them. Of course black is obligatory but I find it a bit severe. HOW DO YOU THINK SLOW FASHION HAS AFFECTED YOUR DAILY HABITS OF CONSUMPTION? I consume very little. I rarely buy clothing or anything besides food. I want someone to invent an app that monitors the user’s purchases and creates a virtual pile of things that one can watch grow as more things are purchased and consumed.. Most people would probably be sick by their own mountain. WHAT PART OF THE PROCESS OF CREATION IS THE MOST TIMELY? For me it might be decision-making. I’m a bit obsessive and might think about a material choice for weeks. I admire designers who can make
instant instinct decisions. They might a bad choice sometimes but they make up for that in their economy of time. AT WHAT POINT DO YOU FEEL SATISFIED WITH YOUR CREATION TO CONSIDER IT “COMPLETE”? Never. It’s more like, “good enough for now”. WHAT IS YOUR BRAINSTORMING PROCESS? I keep notebooks (physical and digital) everywhere. I wish I could consolidate them but it’s not practical. Ideas come to me at odd times and they come in rapid fire so I need to be able to get them down fast wherever I am. I organize and consolidate later, then when I need something I can dive into image files and notes to find a seed. WHAT HAS BEEN INSPIRING YOU LATELY? Plants have always and continue to be a great source. Movement of the city. The great and incredible mysteries of quantum theory and cosmology. Vivaldi (again). Anouar Brahem. Axel Vervoordt. HOW WOULD SOMEONE GET INVOLVED IN THE SLOW-FASHION MOVEMENT? We can all start by consuming only responsibly-made garments and only what we absolutely need. I know people wearing the same shoes for 10 years, with only 1 winter jacket, a handful of outfits.. Don’t be fooled by the lies of an industry that depends on excessive consumption.. the coolest people I know wear pieces from decades ago and have no problem repairing, etc.. It’s great that more creators want to produce responsibly but we really need the movement to stem from the consumers. Demand drives the market. Don’t let the fantasies of the industry deceive you. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT MAKES A FASHION DESIGNER AN ARTIST? Nietzsche said, “One must give value to their existence by behaving as if one’s very existence were work of art”. I believe the greatest art performed day to day by people who have found their current and flow in it. Unlike Nietzsche, I believe the art of our lives is significant and has an audience.
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INSIDE OUT PHOTOGRAPHER CAN DAGARSLANI MODELS ALINA HOVEN & FIKRET KUSADALI CLOTHING ADER ERROR FW15 LOCATION ISTANBUL
“THE ARTY APPROACH IS SO IMPORTANT TO US CREATORS WHEN IT COMES TO EDITORIALS, AS IT ALLOWS US TO UNLEASH OUR CREATIVITY AND LET US FORGET THE COMMERCIAL ASPECT OF OUR WORK.”
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80 PHOTOS BY CAN DAGARSLANI
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SHE IS... PHOTOGRAPHER LUKE HUSTON-FLYNN STYLIST ALEX BAKER MAKEUP ARTIST JESS CLARKE HAIR LOTTIE DAY MODEL ANNA E, BODY LONDON
COAT SIMON EKRELIUS BRA MIMI HOLIDAY TROUSERS UNIF NECKLACE DAISY KNIGHTS
COAT CATHERINE FERGUSON TOP UNIF
DRESS SIMON EKRELIUS BRACELET GINA STEWART COX
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MADE YOU LOOK
PHOTOS BY NAME HERE, COMPANY/AGENCY
A LOOK INTO MFA DEGREE WORK BY SAINA KOOHNAVARD
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST COLLECTION “MADE YOU LOOK”? WHAT IS YOUR INTENDED MESSAGE? I’m in general interested in projects that engage the viewer. Fashion design tends to do that in different ways, sometimes triggering stimuli to a certain crowd or niche. But the intention of Made You Look is to be able to engage any viewer. The collection explores laws of Gestalt psychology to investigate figure versus ground. Since human perception is governed by visual dominance the collection experiments with our mind’s categorical system that decides what we perceive, in turn focusing on what layers, colors, opacity and transparency can do to interfere with that system. The project discusses our perception of pattern and color and how with small measures these components can outsmart our senses, highlighting the importance of psychological methods and techniques in design rather than scientific or mathematical. ABOUT HOW LONG DID THE WORK TAKE FROM CONCEPTION TO COMPLETION? It’s hard to say how long the process took from conception to completion. I’ve had a one and a half year journey to work my way to this collection. The process really started with a pre-collection I did that explored two-dimensionality versus the body, called (I)Deal With It. That collection was done in knits and the intention was to continue from there. But then I always get too excited to the point where I want to challenge myself to look at things from a new way. So the 2D-collection developed into a new
PHOTOGRAPHER THERESA MARX HMUA EMIKE SZANTO MODEL MICHELLE HALL, STOCKHOLMSGRUPPEN, IMG MODELS CLOTHING SAINA KOOHNAVARD
project, which in turn developed into something else. I think that the Made You Look-collection really started to come to light during early spring where I had done a bunch of tryouts and showed them to my sister. I had no idea what I was doing and the process was just getting out of hand. She is a civil engineer and sat down and looked at my things. Then she said, “Saina, I can’t believe you’re not seeing this. You’re dealing with visual dominance. You know? Gestalt psychology? Here’s how it works.” And then she gave me a crash course that I later on investigated further. That’s one of the supervisions that I’m really thankful for. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT CREATING THIS COLLECTION? As always, there’s the time limit. The entire process, from (I)Deal With It to Made You Look was creating garments that worked as idea generators. And since it really felt like I had worked with the project for so long, I came to the point where I just got fed up and that was hard to handle. I’ve realized that I enjoy working at a fast pace and making fast decisions. When you’re in an education system finalizing your degree work there are certain steps you need to take, certain methods and
analysis that need to be done. I’m not saying that those moments are unnecessary or wrong, on the contrary they are rather useful, but it’s easy to “rest” in those thoughts and that can slow down the process, not enabling some ideas to come to light. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AS A DESIGNER? Where I come from people knew they wanted to be lawyers, engineers, doctors or study business. I just knew that I wanted to do something different and work hard for it. I’ve always been interested in writing and music and composed songs and wrote short stories after school. I can’t really remember what made me interested in fashion. I guess that personal style and clothes have always been interesting to me. I moved to London when I was nineteen to study a one-year course in fashion design at London College of Fashion. It really started from there. I had great teachers and met wonderful people who showed me what fashion design really was behind the scenes of all its glamorousness and mysticism. The teachers were strict, to the point and completely honest. A real slap in the face you could say. In retrospect I’ve learned a lot from that time and responded well to that form of teaching. It made me curious to see what else was out there in
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the field. A few years later I enrolled at The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås in Sweden and studied fashion design there for five years. WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS? That it is a process. I meet people, inside and outside the field, that have a certain strict view of what fashion designers are like, who they hang out with, what they do and what they think of the world. That’s probably because fashion has been so attainable and of such great influence to so many people. Mostly I wish for a more open perspective upon the field of fashion and a more open perspective to its designers. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS? It’s really such a cliché but once you step outside of that comfort zone you really learn a lot about yourself, your priorities, what your abilities are and how much you can push yourself. Being strong enough to look past what others expect from you can be a great idea generator and confidence booster. At times that journey can be quite a lonely one. So when you’re in for the run find yourself someone who’ll hold your hand along the way. INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES
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WITH DIANA VERAS INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES & ELIZA TRONO
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DIANA VERAS
We spoke with Diana Veras, a 19-year-old model who preaches the gospel of loving yourself and your body via social media, regardless of size. The super babe has been called a muse by photographer Petra Collins. She also took these selfies for us.
YOU ARE SUCH A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON SO MANY PEOPLE, BUT YOU ALSO RECEIVE A LOT OF (RATHER UNSOLICITED) HATE. WE THINK THAT IS SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF CREATIVE PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, HAVE TO DEAL WITH. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? I don't deal with it, I block people. Seriously, you can do two things: you can sit there and cry or block someone and never let them harass you again. I will not deal with any negativity at all. No one will make me feel like less than I am because they're conflicted with who they are.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE DRAWN TO YOU AND THE THINGS THAT YOU SHARE? I’m very easy to relate to I feel. I’m a real girl, with a real job, I go to school. I model and stuff but I’m pretty normal, and deal with regular situations a lot of girls deal with. So I think that's what draws people to me.
WHAT DOES A DAY IN YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE? My days are all different—there are days when I literally do not get out of bed and just stay in and watch some documentaries or cool shows on Netflix. There are days I'm at work, and then there are days I have shoots, which usually are early days with little food and little rest. But I LOVE it!
WE KNOW PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS ASKING YOU ABOUT YOUR VIEWS ON BODY POSITIVITY. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE THIS DIALOGUE? Because no one else is. As thick women we are not represented, not just with a picture in a magazine, but with our voices! We are all just people looking to be accepted, and there are so many young girls who don't have the body they see being represented in magazines. They need to know that they are SOOOO worthy, and so beautiful and perfect.
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“In this current project, I am using flowers as a metaphor for the male dancer, evoking questions about youth, decay, fragility and innocence. When a dancer turns from a boy into a man, he is in the peak of his physical ability. Like a flower in full bloom that will soon wilt, this point in a dancer's life is both beautiful and tragic.”
PHOTOGRAPHER NIR ARIELI HEADPIECE DESIGNER PHILIPP SHCHEKIN
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FILLIP FILLIP KOSTIC KOSTIC
RO EFIL T'NSI EKAM UOY KRAM YREVE FI YREV TI GNIOD T'NERA UOY NAHT HTAED .LLEW
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT MAKES SOMEONE AN ARTIST? It's really simple I think, and people like to complicate it for some reason. Mike Kelley once said that, “the primary function for art is to fuck shit up.” I agree with him, so to be an artist you just embody that function. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PROS AND CONS OF FORMAL ART EDUCATION? My thoughts are that there are a lot from both ends. Art school is a place for you to spend eight semesters experimenting, fucking up, and talking a lot about art. It's the safest place for you to try something you've never done before and for it not to work out– you aren't going to be out of a job, and chances are if you went on a limb and took a big risk you won't fail the class either. If you value your investment, it can be a place to build a really strong studio practice that
has a foundation of hard work. Art school will work you until you want to quit, and that threshold will get challenged every semester with the amount of work you are asked to produce. The most important pro of going to art school is that it is a period in your life of at least two years where you can focus on just your art–that will do wonders for your progression. At the end of the day it is an institutionalized education, so most of the things you make are student work that is influenced by the institution. Whether it's a question that an instructor brought up that ended up sparking a conversation in your head about a way to make, or it was just a prompt for an assignment. I say this can be a con because if this becomes the only way for you to make interesting things, then you're kind of shit outta luck when you get out of that creative vacuum in school. What happens when you're working two jobs to get by
IF EVERY MARK YOU MAKE
ISN'T LIFE OR DEATH THAN YOU AREN'T DOING IT VERY WELL. and also trying to have a studio practice? That's something that school can't teach you, but, they do teach you how to be consistent and diligent in your practice and that helps when life starts out of school. WHAT IS SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS THAT YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT? There are a few constants in my creative process, one being that it requires me to be very physical, and the second being that the process itself is in a constant state of flux. By physical I mean I need to be challenged by what I'm making in a physical way, and that may be a byproduct of a childhood of sports and an active lifestyle. Sometimes that challenge is scale, or maybe it's materiality, or if it's a digital piece I'll find a way to bring it to the physical. Even when I make small drawings, I compensate by being really aggressive with them.
The constant change in the process is my favorite. I'm constantly looking for new ways to make and am always experimenting. Whenever I'm faced with a 'what if' decision I tend to go ahead and do it. I'd rather have a slight chance of making something interesting happen or the huge chance of pushing it too far, than wonder what if. I try to be very conscious with the decisions I make, I think that's really important to do in order to take ownership of the work. Clarity of decision making doesn't have to happen in the moment, it can happen before or even afterwards too–as long as it is realized at some point. That being said, I am also super open to the idea of intuition and spontaneity, half of my practice is intuition and even dumb luck. There's a quote that I'll probably butcher that a man once told me: “Making decisions in a work has to be just as crucial as making decisions in brain surgery. If every mark you make isn't life or death than you might as well not be doing it at all.” HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR UNIQUE SELFPORTRAITS COMPARE TO SELFIES, THE SELF-PORTRAITS OF THE DIGITAL AGE? I had never really thought of them as having a conversation with one another, but who's to say they can't? I feel like their context is the biggest defining difference. Selfies have a certain social function that is inherent to contemporary culture and are very intimate. We are invited to look at self-portraits in a museum like a piece of text disconnected from the artist, while a selfie is more like a snippet of speech and less like a document; it is inherently contextual and conversational. That being said, my self-portraits are hyperaware of their materiality and physicality.
SUS BOY PLASTER, ACRYLIC PAINT, TAPE, GRAPHITE, ACRYLIC SHEET, AND VELLUM ON BRISTOL BOARD
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Their rough edges speak to the intuitiveness of a selfie, but it is guided by a design sensibility. They tend not to rely heavily on context, instead they converse with themselves through their materiality. Most importantly, they are not entirely rooted in the representation of a photographic image, making them somewhat removed from myself. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST MEMORABLE CREATIVE PROJECT AND WHY WAS IT MEANINGFUL TO YOU? When I was in my first figure drawing course in community college, before I had even remotely been aware that I would be investing in an education to make things, I made this life-sized minotaur drawing. The assignment was to make a drawing with a figure as the focus–there were no other requirements. I remember that same week we had a faculty show at the school gallery, and for the first time in my life I had seen my instructor Harrison Storm's work. They were these larger than life abstract paintings that were very process-based and heavily in relation to the body. I saw these things and immediately thought that I should make a life-sized drawing, probably to impress my instructor. I spent my spring break that year working on this piece; for the first time in my life I spent an entire week in my studio/ bedroom fully dedicated to get this large rendering done, and when that week was over I felt so in love with life. It was that week of just me and that drawing that made me realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my life making art. You know when you're just so sure of something? Well that was the moment for me that felt more right than anything in my life prior to it.
“You know when you're just so sure of something? Well that was the moment for me that felt more right than anything in my life prior to it.”
CONTENT AWARE DIGITALLY MANIPULATED PHOTOGRAPH
HYPERREAL PLASTER, SCREWS, INSTALLATION IN CORNER OF GALLERY
“ EVERY PROJECT, DIGITAL OR ANALOGUE, IS A SERIES OF PROBLEMS OR QUESTIONS THAT IS UNIQUE TO ITSELF. DIFFERENT PROBLEMS REQUIRE DIFFERENT APPROACHES.”
DO YOU APPROACH TWO-DIMENSIONAL AND THREEDIMENSIONAL PROJECTS DIFFERENTLY? I definitely do. Sometimes work just requires itself to be spatial and to have a conversation with the space. When that happens, I have to begin to consider everything about creating a piece that is going to encompass a space that is not just the wall. The questions can remain the same formally, like how will scale come into play, or what materials will I use–but there's a difference when you consider the scale of a sculpture and the scale of a two-dimensional piece. We experience scale in a very different way with an object and a painting, for example: you can walk through and around a large sculpture. That is an experience that is inherent to large scale sculpture and brings in a whole world of opportunity for the artist. Scale is just one formal decision to consider when making either a two or threedimensional piece, but in both cases it's an entirely different consideration. It's safe to say the same with every other formal and conceptual decision pertaining to both ways of making, and it's really exciting to blur the lines that are already thin to begin with. DO YOU HAVE ANY STRATEGIES FOR WHEN YOU FEEL CREATIVE BLOCKS? The best solution I've found is to change some factor in the process. Whether it's using a brush instead of a pencil, or flipping the piece upside down, or maybe it needs to be chopped up and reassembled—something has to change in order to get me thinking again. Sometimes that something is really simple, but most of the time it's a sign that I've become way too comfortable and need to take a big risk. Nine out of ten times that risk ruins everything, but that one time that it works makes the nine fails worthwhile. INTERVIEW BY JACQUELINE CREECH & ELIZA TRONO
ARTWORK BY FILIP KOSTIC
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MANIPULATED REALITIES WITH ARTIST TREY WRIGHT
So really looking at the world in fractured, bits and pieces and wondering, “does it make sense?”
ARTWORK BY TREY WRIGHT
?esnes ekam ot evah yllaer ti seoD
Dallas-based artist Trey Wright manipulates culture and reality in the coolest ways. We also have a bunch of his photos on our fridge. INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES & ELIZA TRONO
“DOES IT REALLY HAVE TO MAKE SENSE?”
WE'VE ALWAYS ADMIRED YOUR WORK. IT HAS SUCH A SPECIFIC FEEL, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR STYLE? I often equate a lot of it to collecting, and botany. So really looking at the world in fractured, bits and pieces and wondering, "does it make sense?" Does it really have to make sense? [My work is] playful. It's funny, I think of it more in terms of it being kind of hilarious that nothing makes sense. Especially on the Internet and just out there in the world. Like you see a picture of a hot dog next to like Kim Kardashian with her butt cheeks out...*laughs* SO HOW DOES POP CULTURE PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR WORK? I really am really inspired by manipulated imagery. I really like starting my work from a reference, or from pop culture instead of really dreaming up an idea in my head—it gives me a starting place. WHERE DO YOU START WITH AN IDEA? I think of stuff for a really long time before I put it into action. I feel like I am inspired by things around me and things in the everyday, but my everyday is stock imagery and flipping through magazines and figuring out placements. It really does come from that. My work is informed by my life and my everyday, and at the same time my everyday really is manipulated by imagery. I feel like it’s like that for everybody, what imagery isn’t manipulated really. I just don’t think people realize how manipulated
reality really is. I think it’s humorous. DO YOU FIND MEANING AS YOU’RE CREATING? Yeah. It really evolves. But it really just starts with a question that I ask myself. [For example,] if I clipped out every person from a magazine and assembled them, what would that look like? ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT YOU PLAY WITH PRE-EXISTING IMAGES, WHAT KIND OF CRITICISM HAVE YOU FACED? I think that I have to be ready to answer questions about the fact that I gather imagery from popular culture. I think that elicits a lot of eye-rolling. That you’re talking about a very specific subject matter or theme. What I mean is that you’re gathering images from popular culture and that could have a negative meaning. For example, critiquing how women are portrayed in the media. That is the only thing that people are going to see when they look at a lot of my work. I think that there are a lot of other things going on with work like that, but it’s hard to escape that conversation. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT WHEN PEOPLE ASK YOU? It really depends on the project. I would say that there are other things going on. It’s not just about how people are portrayed or how people are used. It really is about how you see the world. I think that’s why I’m attracted to photography and how it’s shaping the world.
DID YOU STUDY ART? HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR EDUCATION HAS AFFECTED YOUR WORK? I studied art and photography. I learned so much; I never thought of photography as art before that. You’re exposed to this certain idea of what art is, and that's painting grapes on a table. I've studied many different things, so I’m pretty fluid in what my idea of an artist is. I really just think of myself as a creative person. I feel like people want to be called “artists” because that’s in the pantheon of creative pursuits. That’s the highest achievable state of nirvana. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON COMMERCIAL WORK? YOU'VE DONE SOME RAD WORK FOR STELLA MCCARTNEY, KATE SPADE, REFINERY 29, ETC. I hate that that’s looked upon like a sacrifice. It’s a chance to learn something new. To do something new. It may not be fine art that you’re working on, but maybe something you pick up will influence you on a personal project. WHAT MOTIVATES AND INSPIRES YOU TO CONTINUE PUTTING IN WORK? Seeing things begin to fall in place. You start a project and you kind of have a random idea of artists and clippings from magazines. You really figure out why you began making something and questions get answered. I think that’s what keeps me motivated—stumbling upon answers.
// TreyWright.net Austere MADE // 99
AND OTHER VIRAL HEADLINES
HUNG UP ON JASON CROMBIE ONCE.
AND OTHER VIRAL HEADLINES
Arguably the 3 bossiest girls at Austere, Natasha, Vicky and Eliza love Monster Children Magazine. They were a huge inspiration for us when we first started. When we found they were in our birth city (Denton, TX), we hit up MC Editor-in-Chief Jason Crombie for an interview. He barely talked about Terry Richardson.
ELIZA: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN EDITOR AT MONSTER CHILDREN? WE'VE
issue, the James Franco one.
EVERYTHING BETWEEN BEING THE LAST PERSON TO LOOK AT IT [THE MAGAZINE], TO
JASON: Did you buy an issue?!
CLEANING UP EVERYONE'S SHIT AFTER THE PARTY.
V: Yeah I did!
JASON: Yeah [laughs] I have to do a lot of that, we just had our last launch party for issue 47
JASON: Hang on! I see it! It's on the way Dallas!
we had a party in New York and yeah I was there paying the bartender off and setting up all
E: We read this article about how you threw all your Wooooo's away in a dumpster in New York!
the magazine stuff. We are only a quarterly magazine so it's not like we need a huge staff of
JASON: Where did you read that?
people to start with that sort of thing. In terms of curating the issue it's me and Campbell, the art
V: I'm not sure I don't remember!
director, we curate and argue about it together, if there's something he disagrees about I'll kinda
JASON: Well there are about 20 in a box somewhere, it was so shitty though.
have to sway him, fight him for it, stuff like that. My biggest job is really writing what goes in the magazine, there is a bit of delegating to
VICKY: Are you going to make another issue of Wooooo Magazine? We actually just bought an
BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS BECAUSE BEING AN EDITOR AT OUR MAGAZINE MEANS
N: That's the way we feel about our first issues. V: Well like the first 10!
freelancers and stuff like that but for the most part, it is just writing. Is that a good answer?
JASON: I feel like regardless of what I do about two months later I hate it. I totally overprinted
NATASHA: Well whatever you think is the best answer!
the first issues of Wooooo and I had this storage unit in NY that basically just had thousands of
JASON: I’m not sure if it was! But that's pretty much it, I do everything, I go get the coffee
issues of the magazine because I didn't want to throw them out. It was like I had an apartment
sometimes. I just moved to Sydney from New York, so I was basically the NY office. We have
for all these fucking magazines so in the end I just put them all in a dumpster. But I still have a
one in LA and we have one here in Sydney, but the NY office was really just a desk with me, that
couple hundred of each, it's a total piece of shit.
was it. This [in Sydney] is the big office so there are like 20 people here. It's nice to be in a big
N: WHAT IS YOUR WORK STYLE?
room with everyone working towards a goal. Before I would just wake up around 10 am and
JASON: I don't know I'm a terrible procrastinator, I always leave things to the last minute
start working at lunch time when LA wakes up. It's kinda difficult to remain motivated, it's pretty
and then I sort of get stuff done in a fiery bust, at the very last second. Unfortunately that's
easy to just fuck around and not get the job done; it's good to be here.
probably my work style. I wish I could start a bit earlier and not drag my feet as much. I’m sure
I would produce better work if I didn't leave
JASON: Yeah so do I, apparently I'm not,
come natural, don’t over think it too much.
mad. Couldn’t believe that I had written down
everything to the last minute. So that's not
according to my girlfriend I'm not as funny as
N: WHAT HAVE YOU CREATED THAT YOU
the things that he said. It was really weird. I
really a work ethic is it? That’s just a problem.
I think I am.
ARE PROUD OF? WHY?
can honestly say that I’ve never missed an
N: I think its pretty common with creative
E: IT SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A REALLY
interview with someone before they blew
people in general, to just ponder on an idea
STRONG VOICE, DO YOU THINK THAT IT
up. I’ve been very fortunate with the people
for a long time.
TOOK YOU SOME TIME TO GAIN THAT OR
something. Honestly I’ve never been able
I’ve interviewed. I just sort of got people out
JASON: I've struggled with procrastination
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN NATURAL TO YOU?
to shake the feeling that I’m a fraud. I think
of pure luck. Then come to find, a year later,
all my life and I've read so much about it and
JASON: I think that my earlier attempts were
for me, every time I get away with it. This
they’re gigantic and won’t give me the time of
I can’t think of anything I’m proud
tried to understand why I do it but I can't
sort of a little bit trying too hard to be funny
interview with you guys is a proud moment
day. But yea, I’ve fucked up.
figure it out. But I think my best writing has
or to have a distinct voice. But my tip is to
for me. You thinking I’m a great writer that
E: IF WE SEND YOU A COPY OF OUR
been in times when I haven't been drinking
anyone who wants to have an original voice
you want to interview. A proud moment
MAGAZINE WILL YOU HIDE IT SOMEWHERE
for a couple months, and it's just the more
and one that's sounds genuine and authentic,
for me is when I started working for this
IN THE MONSTER CHILDREN OFFICE?
clear-headed I am the better. That makes me
just write how you talk. It's all you have to
magazine [Monster Children] and I didn’t
JASON: I won’t hide it! I’ll show it to everyone.
sound like an alcoholic but those times when
do. If you can write a sentence and that's
have to bartend anymore, “I’ve fooled these
V: DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG
I've gone a whole stretch without drinking,
something you actually say than it's always
guys into giving me a job.”
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO MAKE IT IN THE
the writing I do during those times is the stuff
gonna sound genuine. You can always tell
V: DOES IT EVER GET EASIER?
INDUSTRY OR WRITING IN GENERAL? THE
when people are putting it on a little bit. You
JASON: No. I don’t know why I feel that way.
DO’S AND DON’TS OF GETTING YOUR SHIT
V: That's interesting because I feel like so
can read something and know this person is
I don’t have any sort of formal education. I
many people say that they prefer to drink and
trying to sound cool or smart or funny. I guess
didn’t go to school for writing or journalism.
JASON: It was an accident, and I didn’t even
write and I've never really felt like that.
with writing you use words that you wouldn't
So, I really did sneak in through the back door.
start doing it for the writing. It became fun
JASON: I think that's a myth, the idea of Hunter
always say. But if you can write the way you
E: HAVE YOU EVER COMPLETELY ‘FUCKED’
and I enjoyed doing it and that started to
Thompson, Hemmingway or Fitzgerald drunk
AN INTERVIEW UP?
resonate to others. It sort of got me to where I
out of their minds at the typewriter. It's like
E: Have you ever felt like you were a workaholic
JASON: What have I done? Terry Richardson
am now. I think you can be ‘under’ ambitious
you're not going to do anything good you're
JASON: Never! Never in my life have I felt like
hung up on me once. It was ten minutes into
and you can be ‘over’ ambitious. No one likes
drunk! Nothing good happens when you're
a workaholic. I wish!
the interview and he was having a very bad
someone who pushes their foot in the door. I
drunk. I think sometimes when I smoke pot
E: I always want to be working, writing and
day apparently. I got on the phone with him
got really lucky, I can’t really think. You know,
and write a bunch of stuff and the next day
designing, but then at the same time I need
and said some pretty dumb stuff. He said “I’m
just be yourself. Be genuine. If you write
when I'm straight I'll read over it, there are
to get out of my house to meet people to write
not in the mood for this” and hung up. What
like you talk and you don’t try to sound like
normally a few gems in there. Sill for the most
about, I'm interested in how other people
else did I do? One time I had an interview with
other people overtime you’ll develop your
part, it will just be gibberish that I thought was
negotiate that balance.
someone. For some reason this person didn’t
own voice. It’s authentic and it’s YOU. I think
hilarious because I was stoned.
JASON: I don't know how I do that, I don't
understand that an interview with a tape
that’s really important. We don’t need and
V: That totally helps.
know if it's a conscious thing? It's just life isn't
recorder on the table in front of them meant
more cooky and crazy writers. Also, if you’re
JASON: But writing drunk doesn't work at all.
I was going to write down everything they
enjoying what you’re doing it’ll come along.
V: But you think you're so hilarious when
E: I think I’m just asking you how to be normal
said. They said one thing that in my mind
JASON: (Laughs) Good luck. I think it should
was pretty harmless, but he got really, really Austere MADE // 101
“I'M NOT A BITCH, I'M AN ARTIST.” INTERVIEW BY VICKY ANDRES & ELIZA TRONO
Besides the Mom Jeans™ fad, it’s not often we see twenty-somethings taking style tips from mothers. This kinda makes Peruvian photographer Elizabeth De La Piedra an anomaly in the best way. We talked to Liz Smart (as her mob of Tumblr followers know her) about being an artist, a mother, and something of an online phenom.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ELIZABETH DE LA PIEDRA
She is is cooler than us. Really though.
MANY PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU FROM TUMBLR AND INSTAGRAM JUST SEE ALL YOUR GREAT OUTFITS AND PICTURES BUT MAY NOT KNOW YOU’RE A PHOTOGRAPHER. HAS IT BEEN WEIRD SEEING YOUR FOLLOWING’S FOCUS SHIFT FROM YOUR WORK TO YOUR PERSONALITY AND STYLE? Not at all, my Instagram is of my life so people became aware of that through the images. From the beginning it has been a casual window showcasing what I do, who I am. Photography is a part of my life but just one aspect. On the flip side, the growth has meant a lot more attention to my work which has been a blessing professionally.
DO YOU THINK THAT YOU SHARE YOUR LIFE IN AN INTIMATE WAY? I share some moments that I consider intimate I guess. Like a cuddle with my baby, etc. That’s just 2015. It’s how our mentality is changing because of the Internet. Now those moments where we feel blissful looking at the face of your child, etc. Your heart wants to burst and you want to share it with EVERYONE. Back in the day it used to be you’d walk around with a wallet of photos and anyone who would listen like the milkman, bus driver, fruit lady, etc. you get to unload your joy. Now it’s at the touch of a button.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE AN ARTIST? WHEN DID YOU FIRST IDENTIFY AS AN ARTIST? I think my big sister quotes me at eleven saying something like, “I’m not a bitch, I’m an artist” lol. As far as what I think it means to be an artist…I don’t know. Maybe for me it means always looking for the interesting possibilities…in everything.
DO YOU THINK THAT YOU HAVE TO EARN THE RIGHT TO BE AN ARTIST OR IS IT INHERENT IN PEOPLE? I think if a person wants to be an artist and is trying, that is their journey whether it’s good or bad, and the journey will let their soul know if they should keep going or quit. That’s the hardest part sometimes, not quitting.
HOW DOES MOTHERHOOD INFLUENCE THE WAY THAT YOU WORK? Mainly it’s been difficult to work for this first year of his life. Especially since my husband travels so much. But this enforced break from work has made me hungry to create, so a lot has been happening behind the scenes.
Austere MADE // 103
NICHOLAS J. HARRIS HAS EMERGED INTERVIEW BY MORGAN GENTRY
It wasn’t as hot as most days have been lately in Dallas, but the sun was out and the aroma of slow-roasted coffee and bubbly chatter filled the air at Oak Lawn’s Ascension Coffee. Harris walked in and greeted us with the same warm energy I tend to see him give off at events all over Dallas. To have an eye for art is often a misguided idea that many artists believe has a deeper meaning. Dallas-based Nicolas J. Harris is an artist of multiple facets who thinks it’s all about knowing yourself—Drake clearly took notes. You might be familiar with his interview-based video project, Emergence. As a “curator of energies” surrounded by some of Dallas’ most thriving creatives, he decided to bring his crew together to explore the idea of when one first 'emerges' as an artist.
PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD
people might have bigger platforms. I think it’s a matter of us all being in different lanes that go in different directions. The only way I could see it as ‘competitive’ is if someone in one lane is doing great and you want to catch up to them to be great with them." But let’s talk about the man of the He hosted an exhibit to reveal his hour for a moment. He’s a perceptive work in Deep Ellum in June of 2015. photographer, capturing the essence of “Everybody that was in the space was a moment while submerging himself in also a curation of a sort. Bringing all of the world around him. He’s a true exthese different creative energies togeth- plorer, never afraid to unmask beauty er for that event was amazing,” Harris in all forms and fashion. And don’t even says. “It’s been an evolution of every- get me started on his killer steez—can body. This has been the year it appears you say fierce?! Baby boy can even hold that everybody that has been in that a tune and blow your mind with words. circle is evolving at an enormous rate. While at the coffee shop we chatted People are still on that incline. One of about why he creates, what it takes to be my goals for Emergence was to get ev- a true artist in such a saturated culture erybody together so we could be that and the work ethic behind his visions. boost for one another.” “I try to find inspiration in everything. I asked him if it ever got competitive It's about the connection. That's what working with so many other creatives in makes it authentic. Anytime I'm shootDallas. ing with somebody or I'm shooting per"The way I look at it is, everybody has formances, which is my absolute favoran avenue," Harris says. "Everybody has ite to shoot, you have a connection with an audience they have to tap into. Some the artist onstage,” Harris says about his people’s are bigger than others. Some first love.
Growing up, Harris knew he wanted to be an artist. He later realized being an artist unfortunately doesn't mean snapping his fingers and drinking cappuccinos. Fucking up and doubting yourself is a part of the process. Harris knew it wouldn’t be easy to build such a dynamic project like Emergence.
“You just have to put it out there and maybe someone will get it. If they can express how they feel and I can in return express how I feel, maybe I can learn something else I didn’t know about somebody else and myself.”
Emergence was originally a project called The AWOL Project (All Walks Of Life), Harris explained. It was mid-2012 when the idea sparked and between the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2014 that he honed in on his new vision. “People don’t realize that you can pursue multiple avenues of art and creativ-
ity without making one suffer. Even if that means you work to perfect one and don’t spend as much time on the other. Have every intention to go back to it, but go build something back up instead of waiting for it to come back. “I had to try to figure out how to make the story with photographs. I took pictures of different people in the creative scene of Dallas. January hit and I started planning out AWOL. The meaning wasn’t really clear and I went back to the drawing board. A lot of it had to do with me feeling like I had to rely on somebody else to help me. February I had an internship at Fashion Week and I guess that would be the driving force behind Emergence. As soon as I got back from New York I started working on it.” If you happened to miss his first exhibit, full of singing, rapping, poetry, live painting, light installations and raw talent don’t fret—Harris has more up his sleeve. “For the next Emergence it’s going to be the same format. I want it to be more interactive. When somebody walks away I want them to feel like they have emerged.”
Austere MADE // 105
JEREMY BIGGERS We visited artist and photographer Jeremy Biggers while he was painting a mural in South Dallas. Here's what he had to say:
Quitting my full time job was absolutely the most stressful, fulfilling, and liberating thing I’ve ever done. So I’ve been telling people to quit their job. When you take into consideration how much money a corporation makes and what they’re willing to pay you for hours of your life that you’ll never get back or see again. I’m a fan of putting in those same hours you spend with other people making money for their corporation and putting those hours into your own life. Because with or without you, they’re going to get someone in there that will make them that money. You might as well put those hours into your own. They don’t care. They don’t care if you ever get rich. They need you to stay with that employee mindset. I don’t think there is a way to do it without being super broke. You just have to accept that you’re not going to have money. And once you accept that you’re not going to have money you realize, “hey, I don’t have to make money to be happy or stay alive or healthy.” I’m a lot broker now than I’ve ever been, but I was working enough to get broke. After bills and everything else. I was still broke when I had a job. If you’re going to break even anyways you might as well not get up and go to work everyday. I learned in the end no matter what you do, like I said once I realized I was broke with a job, it didn’t scare me to quit my job. I was like wait, I’m figuring it out now and I’m still broke. Now I can get up when I want to, go to sleep when I want to. It’s a matter of going on your own clock but at some point during the day you have to get your shit done. 106
HAS BEEN TELLING PEOPLE TO QUIT THEIR JOBS. INTERVIEW BY ELIZA TRONO & NATASHA BRITO
You give up knowing you’re getting a paycheck every other week. I’m a super worry guy. I worry even when I shouldn’t. Not having that for sure for sure money scared the fuck out of me. However, I gained being free. I can do shit like this. “Yeah, I wanna paint in the morning and I wanna paint in the evening.” I don’t have to worry about a work schedule and scheduling things around. If somebody comes in tomorrow and wants to fly out wherever, I can do that. I don’t have a job tying me down. I realize my job became more of my side hustle rather than my actual side hustle. Me sitting at my desk forty hours a week was taking away from the stuff I needed to be doing in my life. I was like, “this shit isn’t working anymore.” I gave up the financial freedom, but I gained actual freedom. It’s the scariest shit ever. While you’re still physically able to, you should get out there. Don’t worry about huge bills. I would definitely, if you can make it work, do it. The worst thing that could happen is that you go back to a job that’s paying your bills.
One thing I’d like people to know about my process is that I’m really doing this shit. It’s not like just like my Instagram personality or what I want the Internet to think of me. I’m literally doing this everyday. Everyday. I’m really doing it.
PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN TO VALUE THE TIME AND ENERGY THAT ARTISTS PUT IN TO CULTIVATE THEIR SKILL SET. A lot of people don’t really value those hours. Whether it’s people looking for design work or needing photography work to be done, there’s a lot of money and time and energy that has gone into that person’s skill. There’s a culture now of people that feel like they don’t need to pay for that stuff. So when a photographer or videographer explains why they charge what they charge, you aren’t only paying for that person’s physical time, but you’re paying for the time they spent before you. If someone charges by the hour, you’re not paying them necessarily for the hours they spend on your project. You’re paying for their training so they can do your project in ten hours vs. twenty hours. I don’t think people realize that at all. Austere MADE // 107
PHOTOGRAPHER NATASHA BRITO, AUSTERE STYLIST KJ MOODY MODEL ALEX REARICK TOP/SKIRT SACHIN & BABI, ELEMENTS BOUTIQUE
Natasha Brito, founder/publisher Vicky Andres, editor-in-chief Eliza Trono, editor-at-large Morgan Gentry, music editor Jacqueline Creech, designer Hillary Head, photographer Fey Sandoval, photographer
Benjamin Ehrenberg Lolo Bates Aleia Murawski Anai Bharucha Nir Arieli Nicolas J. Harris Landon Simpson Luke Huston-Flynn Alex Baker Tim Kosters Samuel Omare Smin Smith Can Dagarslani KJ Moody Kim Watson Anteneh Gebre, Drake's ghostwriter Interested in contributing? Email us at email@example.com
PHOTOGRAPHER NATASHA BRITO, AUSTERE STYLIST/MODEL KJ MOODY JUMPSUIT TOPSHOP
From start to finish, the creative process is one of the most valuable experiences that exists. Join us this fall as we explore what it take...
Published on Sep 6, 2015
From start to finish, the creative process is one of the most valuable experiences that exists. Join us this fall as we explore what it take...